Mariah Carey goes from "Glitter" to grim at Sundance

Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:53pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Singer Mariah Carey has taken a break from pop stardom to act in new movie "Push," but far from her lead role in semi-autobiographical "Glitter," Carey has opted for a supporting part in this often grim tale.

In fact, the real star of "Push," which debuted this past weekend at Sundance, is an unknown actress from Harlem, Gabourney Sidibe, playing an obese and overburdened 16-year-old named "Precious" Jones who is twice impregnated by her father and is beaten by her mother.

Yet, she also has adults who look out for her, and one of those is welfare case worker, Mrs. Weiss, played by Carey.

With her stringy hair and no nonsense attitude, Mrs. Weiss is far from the glamorous role Carey took in 2001's "Glitter," which was loosely based on her own rise to pop music stardom.

But that movie was panned by critics and earned only $5.3 million at global box offices. Since then, Carey has starred in a few movies, but for the most part they have been seen only on TV, DVD or outside the United States.

"Push," however, is based on a best-selling novel and directed by Lee Daniels who produced "Monster's Ball," which earned Halle Berry a best actress Oscar. So curiosity was running high at Sundance to see how Carey performed.

At least one early review was positive. Show business paper Daily Variety called "Push," "courageous and uncompromising," and added that "among the many delightful surprises in the film is Mariah Carey, who is pitch-perfect as a welfare counselor and serves as this demi-tragedy's Greek chorus."

In "Push," Carey has chosen the small but pivotal role of a woman who unravels Precious' monstrous home life of abuse and teenage motherhood.   Continued...

<p>Actress Mariah Carey arrives for the premiere of the film "Push" during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 16, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>