“Criminal” Video: Britney Hears You, Underclasses

Kitchen Sinkney? Britney’s sexy abusive British boyfriend at the beginning of the “Criminal” video speaks with a Michael Caine East London Cockney accent but they are at a fancy, posh-seeming party, so what gives (you know, because rich guys are never abusive boyfriends LOL). He demands respect and I thought of Dizzee Rascal and then he creeps up on some Leona Lewis look-alike while Britney is in the bathroom, wearing a classy grown-woman dress and hairstyle, spraying herself with her own perfume. Brit calls the home-wrecker a ho (careful, Brit, those in nude, glass-studded bodysuits … ).

The guy might be Cockney, because if Britney’s fictional boyfriend were both evil and upper-class the video would definitely be seen as the London Riot rioter-sympathizing propaganda it was tarred in the U.K. press as potentially being during the shoot (also villainous: Rihanna’s Irish toplessness). Although, the video does take place in Hackney and Britney is credited with the story idea. Britney Spears: secret proletariat sympathizer.

Britney’s leather-jacketed hobo thug of an American IRL boyfriend (Jason Trawick) beats the crap out of her British one. Britney gets revenge in heels. A close-up of a newspaper talking about interest rates and a series of bank heists by Britney and her Clyde adds to suspicion this is Britney’s “Tout Va Bien.” This has been the best era of Britney videos in a while. She is dancing within her abilities (which have been limited ever since her knee injury in 2004) and playing with her image as unstable, dangerous, and bad to know. Hence the album title Femme Fatale.

Speaking of which: black lace, shower sex, and coffee in bed! Britney seems happy in this video. Unlike some other times, the happiness here seems genuine, not defensively forced (cough cough Beyoncé). Sure, she’s still acting, but the best Britney has always been goofy Britney. Making out in a hail of bullets and vogue-ing for the camera to the low-key grower of a pop-rock bopper. The perennially flawless princess has been integrated with the off-screen corn muffin.

Filed Under: Britney Spears, Music, Video

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert