A press conference turns into a wild daydream rampage in “I Wanna Go,” the fan-freakin’-tastic new Britney Spears video directed by Chris Marrs Piliero. Piliero’s recent work includes Ke$ha’s Van Der Beek unicorn laser battle “Blow,” and a handful of recent Black Keys videos (including MTV’s 2010 Breakthrough Video “Tighten Up”), so he knows how to make a video humorous and memorable. Ke$ha went as far as to compare him to Spike Jonze in an interview with MTV, which might be a little hyperbolic this early in Piliero’s career, but he’s got plenty of time—and goodwill—because “I Wanna Go” is another success. All of that said, let’s talk about what the video looks like!
“I Wanna Go” starts with Britney facing a horde of press agents and so bored out of her mind that she starts confirming (and even embellishing) every wild rumor she’s asked about (“Is it true you banned junk food, smiles, candy, sunshine, and laughter from your Femme Fatale tour?” “Can you confirm reports that you’re pregnant with Brad Pitt’s love child?”). But one reporter’s question, “Is it true that you hate puppies?” sends her over the edge: she pulls a Scarface in Half-Baked (language NSFW) and ditches the press conference. (She makes sure to shout out Guillermo Díaz, the actor who played Scarface, appearing as himself in the video.)
In music video fashion, she undergoes a magic costume change on the way out the door, which is actually handy, because her spiked flats give her more mobility than her spiked heels:
On the way out, when a fan asks for an autograph, she obliges, then squeezes his butt:
Then she flashes a hot cop, who looks like he’s about to melt into a puddle like Alex Mack in response:
Instead he frisks her, but as we see from her trademark Brit-smirk, she’s in control:
Then come the paparazzi, whom we saw yesterday in the teaser video—and though we don’t get any explanation for the Mickey Mouse skull, we do get a retroactive justification for her violence: they’re photo-Terminators. Apparently Skynet had two objectives: kill John Connor, and bring back some pictures of Britney Spears:
Luckily, Díaz turns up again, in the nick of time, to rescue Britney, and they drive off through some sort of Technicolor West, laughing and rocking out. (Sadly, there’s no sign of Billy Corgan selling ice cream.)
Díaz cools off by pouring a carton of milk all over himself (as one does):
We won’t reveal the twist ending, but suffice it to say that Britney wakes up at her press conference, and is again “rescued,” albeit in a much more quotidian fashion, by Díaz.
At first glance, “I Wanna Go” might bring to mind “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” as they share a silly temperament, a flirty star, and funny cameos. Upon closer examination, though, Britney’s video blows Katy Perry‘s out of the water. For all its visual gags, “Last Friday Night” has a relatively straightforward plot (continuity errors aside), whereas Britney’s video takes numerous left turns. Plus, Britney’s flirting is an exercise of her celebrity starpower, not a “drunken” post-Breakfast Club-makeover performance. And Guillermo Díaz? Like James Van Der Beek in “Blow,” his is a singular cameo, and though it begins as a referential gag, it does not end there—it’s an actual performance with a number of comic beats, not just a surprise that provides a rush of endorphins at one’s recognition of a guest appearance. Frankly, the only thing that doesn’t work in this video is the baby whistling. We like the whistling on the track fine; we just think CGI-mouthed babies are creepy. Was this an E*Trade product tie-in that fell through or something? Other than that, though, we are more than glad that Britney is back to show the kids how it’s done.