Superstar Movie Review

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1999

There was only one way where I'd get what I always wanted... I would have to become exactly like those people in the movies... I would have to become... a superstar!
Superstar Logo

Over the years, a number of movies have been made from the bizarre stock characters churned out by the comics of "Saturday Night Live". A couple, namely "The Blues Brothers" and "Wayne's World", have successfully expanded ten-minute skits on which they were based to feature-length success. The rest of the films, however, are a different story. You've seen them come and go at the theaters, movies that are painful examples of why many ten-minute skits are best left to the small screen, with titles such as "Coneheads", "Stuart Saves His Family", and "A Night at the Roxbury". Unfortunately, it seems that Lorne Michaels still hasn't 'got it' yet, because his latest spin-off, "Superstar", clearly belongs to the latter group of skit-to-movie translations. With nothing more than an awkwardly executed jumble of forgettable moments and juvenile humor, "Superstar" is the type of movie that will do anything for a laugh, no matter how lame.

What are you doing with your hands?
Sometimes when I get nervous, I stick my fingers under my arms and I smell like that!
Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell

For those of you unfamiliar with "Saturday Night Live", Mary Katherine Gallagher is a soft-spoken Irish Catholic schoolgirl whose clumsy attempts at popularity are matched only by her dreams of grandeur. This character, created and performed by Molly Shannon, has made regular appearances on "Saturday Night Live" in the past couple of years, navigating through the confusing and often absurd world of high school.

Ever since I was a little girl, the one thing I wanted more than anything in the entire world, was a kiss.

In "Superstar", Mary (Shannon) dreams of kissing a boy-- not just any boy, but the dreamy captain of the school's football team, Sky Corrigan (Will Ferrell of "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me"). Unfortunately, Sky is already going steady with the school's blonde and buxom head cheerleader, Evian (Elaine Hendrix of "Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion"). However, Mary reasons that her only chance to be with Sky is to become a 'superstar', and she promptly enters the school's 'Let's Fight V.D.' talent contest, in which the grand prize is a trip to Hollywood to be an extra in a movie with 'positive moral values'. But there are a number of obstacles to overcome, including the disapproval of her grandmother (Glynis Johns of "While You Were Sleeping"), the underhanded tactics of Evian and her entourage, and her own ineptness.

Don't listen to the names that people call you. If you believe in yourself, then nobody can hurt you. You are your own rainbow.
Wow... that's really insightful.

Other than a surprisingly well executed fantasy dance sequence in the middle of the film and a wildly inappropriate line uttered by Mary's grandmother, "Superstar" is mostly unfunny. And if you do laugh, it will be more likely out of politeness than from something on the screen that is actually funny. In addition to some gross-out humor that has become commonplace in the post-"There's Something About Mary"-era, audiences are subjected to some parodies of "Armageddon" and "Carrie" that could be done without, lame humor exploiting some unfunny situations, and a lot of pratfalls. Though Shannon is somewhat affecting as the movie's underdog protagonist, she is exploited in a number of idiotic situations that reduces her character to nothing more than a running joke. As for the rest of the ensemble, Shannon's supporting actors are relegated to one-joke wonder characters, indicative of the movie's desperate attempts to elicit a chuckle at any cost.

I wouldn't say 'superstar' anymore, because some people say that you supersuck!

Opening up against a number of other mediocre offerings, "Superstar" will probably draw die-hard Molly Shannon fans and the curious on its first weekend. But with very little going for it other than about five minutes of entertainment value, this "Superstar" will be quick to fall.

Images courtesy of Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.

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