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IN SHORT: It's official. Hell has frozen over. [Rated [PG-13], 95 minutes]
Cranky admits to being way past his frat boy days and far enough beyond Superstar's teens and twentysomethings target audience that he should have double-timed it into the New Jersey swamps when the phone rang with an offer to put Molly Shannon in the CrankyCritic® StarTalk Inquisition docket. Time was short. Cranky grimly sunk deep down into the overstuffed comfy chairs of Paramount Pictures' screening room, as a throbbing generic Go-Go's song opened the film. Half a dozen twentysomethings sat behind me, all laughing hysterically, while I counted the jokes that made me twitter on the six fingers of my left hand. Luckily, Cranky learned his lesson from the Austin Powers debacle and did what is promised in the rules of this site. He watched it again.
If you don't watch Saturday Night Live, Superstar is the story of Mary Katherine Gallagher (Molly Shannon), a Catholic High schoolgirl with thick rimmed glasses and an extraordinary fantasy life. Her job, rewinding tapes at Kip's Video Store in middle American town of Besamee Heights gives her ample opportunity to immerse herself in, and memorize vast portions of, every movie ever made. From her earliest kidlethood, she has dreamed of the perfect kiss with the perfect man. Someone like Arthur Fonzarelli or John Travolta as The Boy in the Plastic Bubble . . . or the real life coolest boy in school, Sky Corrigan (Will Ferrell). Sky is also the best dancer in St. Monica's ("he's the Swayze-est" says Mary Katherine's best friend) but he's severely liplocked with the most beautiful girl in school, Evian (Elaine Hendrix), who looks damned fine in pink underwear . . .
We should point out that all the leads are easily in their thirties, which just adds to the absurdity of it all . . .
Mary Katherine decided early on that the only way to get that perfect kiss was to become a Superstar!, a decision condemned by her wheelchair bound grandmother (Glynis Johns) who has raised Mary Katherine since the accidental death of her parents. Spectral visits from Jesus Christ himself (Will Ferrell) will point Mary Katherine to the path that will determine her ultimate destiny -- the Catholic Teenagers Against Venereal Disease Talent Show at St. Monica High. The prize? A trip to Hollywood and an appearance in a movie with Positive Moral Values. Simply? A chance to become a Superstar!
Only a vengeful Evian, dumped by Sky halfway through the flick, stands in her way. On her side are the other "special" students of St. Monica's: Slater (Harland Williams), a leather jacketed, motorcycle riding scarey-dude who never speaks and is believed to have chopped up his parents into teeny weeny pieces; the braces-bound basketball star Helen (Emmy Laybourne), and the school's only Jewish student, Howard Feinstein (Jason Blicker) who's got the hots for Mary and almost everyone else in the school with a working human heart.
Overseeing the kidlets and the nuns is the harried Chief Priest, Father Ritley (Mark McKinney who, as he did in director Bruce McCulloch's soon to be forgotten Dog Park, takes what could have been a forgettable supporting character and makes him incredibly funny). Superstar is McCulloch's second flick to hit the screens this month and it, unlike the floundering romantic comedy Dog Park, Superstar is . . . dare we say the "f" word???
Superstar is funny. There. I said it and I meant it. Unlike A Night at the Roxbury, which felt like 8 SNL skits stapled together, Superstar has a solid story, strong supporting characters and a Farrelly Brothers quality dog joke carefully inserted into the story, as are tributes to movies like Carrie and Armageddon. Parents worried about gratuitous sex jokes shouldn't worry. There's one girls locker room scene and only one use of the real "f" word but other than that, Superstar is a remarkably entertaining flick.
Of course, it would help if you like the skits on Saturday Night Live, which I don't particularly do. If you're young enough to remember the glory days of SNL, as Cranky is, set yourself in the middle of a crowd with the Godzilla size popcorn and soda combo. Cranky got a good hunk of guffaws out of the film, and felt a big smile on his puss for the rest of the flick.
A smiling Cranky is not a pretty site. Thank God the lights were down...
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Superstar, he would have paid...
It's definitely a date flick for those kidlets so inclined. Not painful for those of us to remember all 25 years of Saturday Night Live, though it would be a rental grab for us. As for those old flicks, even with it's rock 'n' roll themes and the lovely Tia Carrere, Wayne's World would've only nailed a "recommended" $6.00 rating. A Night at the Roxbury tanked at $2.50.
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