Britney: For the Record doesn’t give us much about Britney Spears, at least not from her

Sunday night, MTV debuted Britney: For the Record, a documentary directed by Phil Griffin that promised to “get into the thoughts of Britney Spears as she plots and prepares for her return to the spotlight.”

It did do that; unfortunately, those thoughts weren’t very illuminating. When asked about marrying Kevin Federline, Britney says, “I just did it because, for the sake — the idea of everything, and um, it just led me on a weird path.” Asked about shaving her head, she says, “I was going through so much artificial stuff with my kids and Kevin at the time. He’d just left me and I was devastated. … People shave their heads all the time.”

As I wrote for msnbc.com last night, while it’s well-edited and well-produced–and totally unlike anything you’d generally see on MTV–the documentary falls short of the mark because Britney’s interview segments don’t offer much beyond cringe-worthy moments like when she says “hisself” or vague insight when she obliquely talks about driving to avoid the pain of missing her kids.

About the only time that she really offers insight is when she breaks down and says “I’m sad.” However, the documentary does end up being somewhat revealing, primarily through flashes of her life, like the way she’s literally hunted by paparazzi, clearly sick bastards who provide photographs to the bastards who buy celebrity gossip magazines and drool over the life of someone who’s clearly extremely troubled. But it doesn’t blame them, or her family, or her friends, or Britney herself, and more significantly, never really explains how or why she got to the point where she needed a documentary to help her orchestrate a comeback.

Britney: For the Record [MTV]
‘For the Record,’ Britney reveals very little [MSNBC]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.