Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 1-12

Movie Information

Genre: Parody Soap Opera Musical
Director: R. Kelly
Starring: R. Kelly, Cat Wilson, Rolando Boyce, LeShay n. Tomlinson
Rated: NR

What is this? Is it the world’s first R & B opera? Is singer R. Kelly the Fellini of music videos? I have no idea. Until I saw this 43-minute film, I’d never heard of R. Kelly (though both he and his 2005 film were parodied in the South Park episode on Scientology where a cartoon version of Kelly showed up to exhort Tom Cruise to come out of the closet). And I’m not sure I want to hear of him again.

Whatever his film Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 1-12 is or isn’t, it’s fascinating in its sheer peculiarity. How to describe it? Well, R. Kelly plays a character called Sylvester, who finds himself in a strange bed being romanced by a strange woman. He quickly finds himself shoved into the closet when her husband comes home. From there we follow a seemingly endless chain of sexual infidelities on the parts of everyone Sylvester encounters — mixed with random gun-play, soap-opera theatrics and odd (satirical?) references to Christianity — all set to one long song with Kelly singing all the parts (except for one brief parody of an operatic trio). Is it good? Beats me, but it’s certainly different.

— reviewed by Ken Hanke

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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