At the time of Minelli on Minelli's release, most news about Liza Minnelli concerned her health and substance-abuse problems. Reviews of her December 1999 comeback at Broadway's Palace Theater - which this album chronicles - indicated that she was somewhat worse for wear. This recording of the show, which featured music from her father Vincente Minnelli's films, bears them out. At 53, Minnelli has aged audibly: her voice is weaker, she struggles for breath, and her vibrato is wobbly. Though the album presents only a portion of the show, it's padded with performances by a sextet of male singer/dancers. While obviously allowing for some treasured reminiscences, the concept of building an act around songs from Vincente Minnelli's movies is arbitrary: his 34 films included some outstanding musicals, but many of them featured interpolations of old tunes. As an organizing principle, this simply means picking a bunch of typical, exuberant songs. Unfortunately, the exuberance seems forced; four years after Gently's hints at maturity, Minnelli seems determined to prove she can still cut it in her old frothy style, but the best moments come when acts her age. If Minnelli informed her work with age and experience, she might develop an interesting autumnal phase. But as she sings along with her mother Judy Garland on the "The Trolley Song," she passes from self-parody to a kind of pathetic competition she previously avoided. Garland never lived to her daughter's current age. It may be that Liza Minnelli doesn't know how to age as a performer. She may, as she sings, go to AA meetings, but Minnelli on Minnelli suggests she's still in denial.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann