Lifetime's stiff treatment of the life of Aaliyah Haughton, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, was not exactly so bad it was good, but it was fun to mock. Basically, you had to put in work to find good in the boring, terribly cast, musically inept slog. Aaliyah died in a plane crash at age 22 in 2001; Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B felt longer than her actual, brief life.
The treatment of Aaliyah's relationship with R. Kelly, to whom she married when she was 15 (he was 27) was particularly tasteless in a soap operatic sort of way. A heart-to-heart about their real feelings and how the world wouldn't understand concluded with Aaliyah (played by Alexandra Shipp) saying, "Eighteen feels like an eternity from now." Seconds after, Lifetime ran a commercial for Osphena, a drug that helps remedy painful intercourse during menopause. Something for everyone, I guess.
See that clip above. Below is a clip of Aaliyah's parents wrath once they found out their daughter and Kelly and married. It includes the line, "Stay away from my daughter, or I'll have you charged with statutory rape!"
As Cover Hope wrote on Jezebel: "At one point, she talks back to her parents as if they're treating her like a child (in real life, she was 15 when they married) and not, I don't know, trying to protect her from a pedophile. The movie, offensively, makes it seem like it's just teen problems—'I hate you! I hate both of you!' she tells her parents."
The casting was so off that it spawned the meme/hashtag #LifetimeBeLike. Lifetime's Missy Elliott (portrayed by Chattrisse Dolabaille) of the mid-'90s looked way more like the Missy of the '00s, and that's not saying much:
[ Missy in 1997 via Getty]
And uh Izaak Smith...
...was supposed to be Timbaland:
So yeah, that was bad, too.
The sightless approach to casting was mocked on Twitter like this:
Finally, the music was just awful. For the most part, Lifetime didn't license Aaliyah's music, but it did use some of the covers she did, like the Isley Brothers' "At Your Best (You Are Love)" and Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up." During the scene in which she performed the latter on a talk show, the music's BPM changed several times for no seeming reason, giving it a woozy feel and making me feel like I wanted to vomit—even more so than I had felt while watching the biopic's most melodramatic scenes.
Timbaland dedicated several Instagram posts to his displeasure with what he called "that bullshit Aaliyah movie." They are, uniformly, better than that bullshit Aaliyah movie.