From dirt-poor petty thief to producer of the lushest orchestral pop imaginable, White’s rise to fame would make for a fascinating documentary. This DVD, however, only scratches the surface in its 52- minute running time, despite the contributions of wives, children and professional admirers such as Smokey Robinson and the Black Eyed Peas. It’s almost like an extended trailer for a more ambitious substantial film.
His early years as an A&R man, writing and producing his first record on a budget of less than $50, are mentioned frustratingly briefly, and then it’s straight on to the 70s and the emergence of his Love Unlimited trademark Philly soul. There’s the occasional revealing insight from ex-wife Glodean, but the film generally seems to be in a hurry to get to the finish line.
Lengthier snippets of White’s music would certainly have been welcome, as even in the bonus features the viewer rarely gets to hear more than about 30 seconds of any song, before another talking head pops up. It’s a passable enough bonus disc to accompany a greatest hits album, but falls way short of value as a standalone film.