The Gloved One might have gotten good marks for his "Bad" LP, but for Monday's CBS special, "Michael Jackson: The Magic Returns," the critics took off their gloves. (Coincidentally, Jackson records for Epic, a division of CBS.)
Not even the ungloved hand of Martin Scorsese, who directed the video, seemed to help.
Hollywood Reporter's ruthless Miles Beller called the show "hackneyed/creatively bankrupt . . . TV hucksterism at its most loathsome, a coiled cobra packaged inside a gift box."
Daily Variety, after referring to "Jackson's ever-evolving physical features," said the video's "mechanical choreography" was inferior to past Jackson efforts and the special's 10-minute intro "somewhere between whitewash and deification."
Our Terry Atkinson called it "bad as in stinkeroo."
L.A. Daily News scribe Yardena Arar didn't like "the creepy 16-minute" video either, but enjoyed the Pepsi commercial and CBS promo that followed (actor Tim Reid hyping his new series, "Frank's Place," by mimicking Michael). Arar didn't say what she thought about it, but noted that "Jackson clutches his crotch so many times (in the video) you wonder whether the censors thought he had to go to the bathroom."