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Film / From Justin to Kelly

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From Justin to Kelly is a 2003 film that is a VERY loose adaptation of American Idol.

After the first season of American Idol proved a massive success, the network executives began to think of other ways to milk the brand for all it was worth. What they decided to do was adapt what is essentially a karaoke talent show into a musical beach comedy film starring the contractually obligated winner and runner up of American Idol's first season, Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini. Clarkson plays Kelly Taylor, a cautious Texan waitress going to Florida for spring break with her two friends. Guarini plays Justin Bell, a "wild" college student from Pennsylvania who, with his two friends, run a party service and are also going to Florida for spring break. Justin and Kelly meet and quickly fall in love but struggle with their differences and the manipulations of Kelly's jealous friend.


Subplots include Justin's friend Eddie trying to find a girl he met on the internet, Kelly's friend Kaya falling for a local busboy, and Justin's friend Brandon constantly getting in trouble with a policewoman.

Regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, the film failed miserably with both the box office and with critics, so much that the studio got in trouble with theaters due to how fast they tried to put the film on home video (at the time, it was the fastest movie to transition from theaters to home video at only 28 days). Additionally, the film's soundtrack was never officially released due to how poor the reception was.

Compare Dancin': It's On!.


This film shows examples of:

  • 555: Kelly and Alexa's phone numbers.
  • Actor Allusion: Kelly is a small-town Texas girl with a big voice and a taste for country music. The real-life Kelly Clarkson did in fact work as a cocktail waitress before American Idol.
  • Alliterative Name: Justin, Brandon, and Eddie are collectively known as "the Pennsylvania Posse." The guys host events called "Margarita Madness" and "Pool Party Paradise."
  • Almost Kiss: After returning from their boat ride, Kelly and Justin pause at the entrance to Kelly's hotel and stand silently for a long moment before... shaking hands.
  • Bad Girl Song: "Wish Upon a Star"
  • Beauty Contest: Specifically, a whipped cream bikini contest.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Alexa says this of Justin and Kelly's relationship after her efforts to keep them apart fail.
    It's fate. You two belong together.
  • Beta Couple: Kaya and Carlos.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Between Justin and Kelly.
    • Between Eddie and Lizzie when they finally meet after failing to find each other all week.
  • Bookends: Kelly asks "Come here often?" when she and Justin first introduce themselves. He asks the same question moments before they officially get together.
  • Boy Meets Girl: The basic premise of the movie.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Kelly and Kaya, of Alexa's much more pronounced (and consistent) Southern accent.
    Kelly: Which one was that one?
    Alexa: No one special.
    Kaya and Kelly: "No one special."
  • Bromantic Foil: Brandon, to Justin and Eddie.
  • But Not Too White: Eddie tries to achieve this.
    Eddie: Well, I'm off to meet my Internet babe. Once she sees this bronzed Adonis, she'll know it was worth the wait.
    Brandon: Whoa, whoa. Got Milk??
    Eddie: My skin is not milky. It is alabaster. Thank you.
  • Call-and-Response Song: "Madness"
  • Character Shilling: For Kelly, who at different times is described as hot, special, nice, and genuine.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Brandon lets Alexa into the Margarita Madness party for free in exchange for a kiss on the cheek.
  • Compete for the Maiden's Hand: Justin and Luke do this with a hovercraft beanbag toss competition, as an alternative to the Cock Fight that might have gone down if not for Brandon stepping in.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The main reason Alexa and Kaya want Kelly to visit Miami with them is because their only means of transportation is her car. This is because the charter company operating their previously booked flight has just gone bankrupt, all other flights were full, and Alexa's father is either borrowing or withholding her car.
  • Coordinated Clothes: Justin and Kelly both wear head-to-toe white for their boat ride.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Or paper. Kelly writes her phone number in lipstick on a paper towel.
  • Counterpoint Duet: "Forever Part of Me"
  • Cover Version: Reba McEntire's "I Won't Stand in Line" in the opening scene, "Vacation" by The Go-Go's in the next scene, and KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)" in the finale.
  • Crowd Song: "The Luv (The Bounce)" and "That's The Way (I Like It)", which both feature Spontaneous Choreography.
  • Dance of Romance: "It's Meant to Be"
  • Dance Party Ending: The movie ends with the entire cast dancing to"That's The Way (I Like It)."
  • Dark Reprise: Kaya mournfully sings "It's Meant to Be" to herself while lamenting her failure to win Carlos back. He shows up to apologize at that very moment.
  • Dragged by the Collar: Kelly is literally dragged (by the arms) on stage for the whipped cream bikini contest in which Alexa entered her.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas:
    Justin: Girl, my hair won't even fit through [the bathroom window].
    Kelly: I'm from Texas. I've seen bigger.
  • Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn: Eddie gets one.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Brandon runs away twice from a rather large gentleman who is annoyed with him.
  • Fair Cop: Officer Cutler. Brandon compliments her "beautiful eyes" upon their first meeting.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Carlos takes a job as a busboy after he is fired from his job as a... busboy. For reasons that are never quite clear, the second is worse than the first.
    Carlos: Five and a quarter an hour, scraping beans off plates and filling urinals with ice. I'm living the dream.
  • First Blood: Luke is injured during the hovercraft beanbag toss competition, resulting in some blood to the side of his face.
  • Forceful Kiss: Alexa plants one on Justin, and Luke plants one on Kelly.
  • Forged Message: Alexa gave Justin her own phone number, telling him it was Kelly's number, allowing her to send him several of these by text.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Alexa. At one point, Kaya even point-blank asks Kelly: "Why are we friends with her again?"
  • Funny Afro: Justin's hairstyle. Luke even compares him to Sideshow Bob.
  • Gibberish of Love: Kaya, Distracted by the Sexy, babbles for quite a while upon meeting Carlos.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Carlos's neatly trimmed mustache and goatee versus Mr. O'Mara's Porn Stache.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The dirtiest word in the movie is "hell."
  • Gratuitous Rap: Two of them, both performed by Brandon. Justin helpfully beatboxes on the first of these.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: From Carlos, who responds with an appreciative "Ay, mami!" to Kaya's dancing.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Alexa tries to steal Justin from Kelly because she's jealous that Kelly and Kaya both found love.
  • Handsome Lech: Brandon. Despite his conquests apparently being the stuff of legend, we don't see him hook up with anyone, although he and Officer Cutler may have Hooked Up Afterwards.
  • Happily Ever After: At the end, we learn that Justin plans to visit Kelly in Texas.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Eddie
  • Heel–Face Turn: Alexa has one toward the end of the movie and tells Justin about all that she had done, leading to him and Kelly officially making up.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Gender-flipped. Eddie finds himself becoming the Romantic Wingman for a lovelorn man whose never-seen girlfriend had been flirting with Brandon.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Eddie for liking the internet and using it to meet a girl.
  • Hollywood Thin: Kaya and Alexa
  • Hummer Dinger: Kelly drives what appears to be an International Harvester Scout for a major-mileage highway trip.
  • I Hate Past Me: Justin insists he no longer lives up to his hard-partying reputation, and is only sticking with his and Brandon's party-planning business to pay for college.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Alexa reveals that her motivation for trying to sabotage Kelly and Justin's relationship was because she wanted guys to see her the way guys saw Kelly ("for who you really are" and not just a hot party girl).
  • Informed Attribute: Kelly and Justin apparently fell in love at first sight, which the film does a rather poor job of showing. For example, during their love song duet, they're about eight feet away from one another and don't even look at each other.
    • Kaya is described as "the smart one" in her group of friends. There is scant evidence to support this.
  • Join or Die: A playful example when Kaya and Alexa try to persuade Kelly to come with them to Miami.
    Alexa: Just imagine relaxin' on a gorgeous beach...
    Kaya: Sippin' piña coladas with your two best friends...
    Alexa: And if you don't come...
    Kaya and Alexa: We'll kill ya.
  • Just Friends: Kelly repeatedly tells local cowboy Luke that they are this, but he is undeterred. After some chicanery from Alexa, Kelly is forced to pull a gender-flipped She Is Not My Girlfriend on him, followed by a Like Brother and Sister, which is enough to make him drop his pursuit.
  • Latin Lover: Carlos
  • Letters 2 Numbers: Fans and marketers of the movie referred to it as J2K.
  • Letting Her Hair Down
  • Little Black Dress: Worn by Alexa.
  • Love at First Sight: After dancing together once, Kelly and Justin go in search of one another while singing that each "could be forever part of me."
  • Love Theme: "Timeless"
  • Mean Boss: The cigar-chomping Mr. O'Mara, who manages the restaurant where Carlos works.
  • Meet Cute: Between Kelly and Justin (an awkward chance encounter in a public bathroom), Kaya and Carlos (he helps her out after she spills punch on herself), and Brandon and Officer Cutler (she tickets him after he moons the girls at the end of his rap).
  • Missed Him by That Much: Kelly and Justin during a musical number, and Eddie and Lizzie in several scenes.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Brandon, who is most often seen in an open shirt or no shirt.
  • Ms. Fanservice: All eight contestants in Justin and Brandon's whipped cream bikini contest, and anyone seen wearing a real bikini.
  • Multicolored Hair: Kelly's hair is brown with some blond streaks.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Justin likes that Kelly is "not a party girl," much to Alexa's chagrin.
  • Never Say "Die": The word "sex" is never spoken in the movie, and the characters often use "party" as a substitute.
  • Never Trust a Trailer
    • TV spots for the movie described the premise this way: "Music will bring two strangers together." While the movie certainly has music in it, music is not integral to the plot in any way.
    • Also includes a Missing Trailer Scene in which Justin says "Hey, you're that girl from the beach!" upon meeting Kelly. In the movie, this was changed to "Hey, we met at the beach, right?"
  • Not Good with Rejection: Alexa, whose Pride is wounded after Justin turns down her advances.
    "Do you know how many guys would kill to be in your position? You think Kelly has what I have?"
    • Also Justin, who continues to pursue Kelly despite her (false) rejection, and at one point sends her a text informing her that he "won't take no for an answer."
  • Not Like Other Girls: After meeting Kelly, Justin declares "This one's special."
  • Nutritional Nightmare: Kelly orders a bacon cheeseburger, then mutters "triple bypass" to herself.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Kelly sounds more distinctly Texan in the movie's opening scene, but lets this affectation fade away.
  • Only in Miami: Spring break! Beach parties! Palm trees! Hot Cuban men who can dance!
  • Only One Name: None of the main characters reveal their surnames, although early reviews of the movie indicate that Kelly and Justin's surnames are, respectively, "Taylor" and "Bell."
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Kelly says that her friends call her Kelly "for short", it's unknown what it could possibly be short for, as she's named after her actress.
  • Palatial Sandcastle: Eddie waits by one of these to meet his Internet love.
  • Playing Sick: When first accosted by Officer Cutler, Brandon tries to explain that he suffers from a condition called "posterior spasmodica."
  • Power Ballad: "Anytime"
  • Protagonist Title
  • Real Men Eat Meat: Justin and Luke invite Kelly to join them for, respectively, burgers and steaks.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Carlos blames Kaya for getting him fired for the sake of a relationship that will end as soon as she leaves. He later changes his mind and makes it up to her.
    • Coincidentally, Kaya gets Carlos fired by delivering such a speech to his boss.
  • The Remake: Of the 1960 teen movie Where the Boys Are (according to the Razzies, which hailed From Justin to Kelly as the worst remake of 2004), but with a considerable Tone Shift.
  • Rule of Pool: A fully clothed Justin falls right in during his and Brandon's "Pool Party Paradise" party.
  • Running Gag: Eddie and Brandon each have their own: Eddie continually failing to meet up with a girl he was dating online and Brandon getting tickets from the same police officer for his party antics.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: In the middle of their Love Theme, Kelly asks Justin if he "bring[s] all [his] girls out here." He either ignores or fails to notice her snarky tone and answers sincerely that he "come[s] out here to think."
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Alexa orders a Bouncer to let her skip the line for the Margarita Madness party, on the ground that she is "friends with the promoters."
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Alexa wears string bikinis and miniskirts on multiple occasions, while Kelly only wears a bikini top once and wears full-length pants to the beach multiple times.
  • Slut-Shaming: Kaya unfavorably compares Alexa to Kelly, in that the former is a "party girl" and the latter is a good girl. Insulted, Alexa suggests she has Hidden Depths, making Kaya and Kelly laugh derisively.
  • Smug Smiler: Alexa, watching Justin and Luke nearly come to fisticuffs.
  • Straw Feminist: Kelly. She objects very strongly to the many degrading aspects of spring break in Miami, but ultimately this leads only to her smearing whipped cream in Justin's face.
  • Street Performer: A breakdancer and a tap dancer seen in one of the early musical numbers.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: In "The Luv (The Bounce)," "Madness," "That's the Way (I Like It)," and the Cut Song "Brighter Star."
  • Third-Act Misunderstanding: Between Kelly and Justin.
  • Token Minority Couple: Kaya and Carlos.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot:
    • Based on Kelly and Alexa's area codes (972 and 214, respectively), we can deduce that the girls live somewhere in the Dallas area, which means their last-minute road trip to Miami would require over 19 hours of driving.
    • In the two or three minutes it takes for Kelly to perform her half of The Eleven O'Clock Number/Final Love Duet "Anytime," Justin gets on the way to the airport, Alexa intercepts him, and they find Kelly at the beach to clear everything up.
  • Trekkie: Eddie's e-mail address is
  • Umbrella Drink: In any scene requiring alcohol, standard tropical drinks like margaritas and piña coladas abound.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Alexa brings 23 different bikinis on the trip, allowing her to wear a different one every day.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: A recurring theme in the movie is the fundamental difference between the uptight Kelly and Justin, "the mayor of spring break."
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: To allow the viewer to read the text messages between "Kelly" and Justin, the messages are displayed in huge typeface, taking up their phones' entire screens, with plenty of bleeping as the characters scroll between messages.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Almost all of Brandon's scenes show him wearing either an open shirt or no shirt.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: Several involving Kaya and Alexa.
  • Workout Fanservice: There is a brief cut to a group of unidentified guys lifting barbells on the beach.
  • You Said You Couldn't Dance: Kaya tells Carlos she has no idea how to dance the Rueda. She manages to do it perfectly within seconds.

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