Selena

“Selena” is the rather shallow biopicture of the Mexican-American pop singer Selena Quintanilla, who was murdered in 1995. The character is played by two different actresses. As the adult Selena, Jennifer Lopez in her first major role, won accolades for a “star-making performance.” But the rest of the film, while somewhat charming, is a bit lackluster.

Directed by Gregory Nava, “Selena” tells the story of the young pop star with all of the predictable elements of a rags-to-riches story. Unfortunately, there is little complexity or texture to hold the story together.

“Selena” is effective in portraying Mexican-American culture as a rich resource with its own flavor and character. But while Selena’s music is ultimately her legacy, the movie does a poor job of simply allowing the music to come through, electing instead to use unnecessary visual gimmicks like split screens and cutaways.