Superstar (1999)
Main cast: Molly Shannon (Mary Katherine Gallagher), Glynis Jones (Granny), Elaine Hendrix (Evian), Will Ferrell (Sky Corrigan), and Harland Williams (Slater)
Director: Brian McCulloch


If there's one word that fits this movie perfectly, it's earnest to the capital E. I have now profound admiration for Molly Shannon's manic comedy talent. She shines in this otherwise uneven, only occassionally funny movie

Mary is the girl in high school that will make the geekiest nerd feel thankful that she isn't Mary. This girl is seriously imbalanced. She lives in a dreamworld where movie and reality blurs into one colorful world. Mary yearns for a Hollywood firecracker of a kiss, and she decides that the only way she can get that is by being - what else? - glamorous movie star. And she wants the kisser to be high school hunk Sky. Unfortunately, Mary has better luck snogging the tree in her Catholic school (like I said, she's seriously disturbed), thanks to her inability to speak above an incoherent murmur in public, her too-short-pinafore that reveal tasteless white knickers, and sad case of chronic clumsiness.

One day while humping and French kissing the tree, she is caught by a good Sister and unsurprisingly sent to (ahem) Special Class. Mary finds a best friend in a slightly mentally not-there girl and decides to audition for the local talent show. That's it really for a plot, if there is one. Oh, I forgot Slater, the local asthmatic bad boy James Dean-wannabe who has a crush on Mary.

This movie is a weird contradictory as on one hand, it mercilessly humiliates its main character. Mary is the kind of girl even a good-hearted person will find it hard not to think of in unkind terms. Indeed, I can think up descriptions like need serious counselling, poster girl for birth screening, and right at home in Special Class. The things she do are so awful at times (the aforementioned making love to trees) that I can't laugh at her, much less with her. I cringe inside instead and thank heavens that my granddaughters show signs of stable adjustment. On the other hand, the movie enobles Mary, giving her the dignity she deserves at the end. I don't know what to make of this movie. It's a geek's-revenge story mixed with humiliate-the-barneys. It's okay if it's funny, but it only sometimes amuses.

One thing's for sure: Molly Shannon's a brilliant entertainer, and she deserves a better starring vehicle than this movie. Molly, fire your agent.

Rating: 67


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