Rihanna came up with a novel idea to promote her seventh album, Unapologetic, just before its release last November: She chartered a 777 jet, loaded it with 150 or so die-hard fans and journalists, and took them on a whirlwind world tour of seven days, seven countries and seven shows.
It turned out to be more arduous than awesome, though the behind-the-scenes documentary Rihanna 777 (Fox, Monday, 8 p.m. ET/PT) tries to give it a positive spin. Things seem to get off to a fun start, with the star sharing champagne and cognac with everyone as they take flight. But reality soon curbs their enthusiasm.
The first stop is Mexico City, where the pattern for the trip and documentary is set. The logistical nightmare of moving a planeload of people through the airport, collecting bags and getting to the hotel and ready for the show is immediately apparent. There's a cut to the concert, where viewers see Rihanna perform one song - here it's Phresh Off the Runway - and then there's a mad dash back to the airport.
There's little glam and all grind for everybody as they touch down in Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London and New York, with identical arrival and departure chaos. Rihanna, who left her racier outfits at home, is shown singing a different hit at each stop.
While fans might find her interactions with band and crewmembers backstage interesting, those encounters aren't particularly revealing. And by the time the trip winds up in New York, everyone involved is elated that it's over. Even so, the film doesn't come close to reflecting the tedium described by journalists in their dispatches from the trip.
The trip's negative reviews didn't diminish Unapologetic, which made its debut at No.1 on Billboard's album chart and has sold more than 900,000 copies. Good thing no travel was involved.