Superstar (1999)

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Released 8-Nov-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 78:28
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:57) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bruce McCulloch
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Molly Shannon
Will Ferrell
Elaine Hendrix
Harland Williams
Mark McKinney
Glynis Johns
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Michael Gore


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Greek
English
Spanish
French
Croatian
Italian
Hebrew
Portuguese
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Superstar is one of those films that sound much better as a concept than in the execution. Molly Shannon (of Saturday Night Live fame) co-wrote the film and stars as the lead character Mary Katherine Gallagher, an Irish Catholic schoolgirl who is pining for her first kiss, and she thinks the only way she is going to get one (like the kisses she sees in movies) is if she is famous. Not just well-known, but a SUPERSTAR!

    Just because a "character" works well in a comedy sketch doesn't mean automatic success in a movie, and this film is a prime example where the transition does not quite work. No doubt the concept of a hyperactive, nervous and plain-looking schoolgirl wearing an altogether-too-short skirt works well on TV, but enduring that character for over an hour was too much for me. Mary is way too weird for me to empathise with her.

    The plot vaguely reminds me of a cross between Revenge of the Nerds and Carrie. Mary is awkward, unattractive, and unpopular. She compensates by constantly striving for attention, having an overactive imagination and fantasising some pretty far-fetched scenarios, which she tends to act out in public. This leads the school authorities to suspect that she is a few pixels short of a frame, and they put her in remedial class, where she meets some other nerds and geeks and makes friends with Helen Lewengrub (Emmy Laybourne), a sweet girl with a heart of gold and the strength of about ten men.

    She set her sights on wanting to kiss the most handsome boy in school, Sky Corrigan (Will Ferrell), but unfortunately he is already dating the prettiest, "most bulimic" girl in school, Evian Carrie Graham (Elaine Hendrix). Evian suspects that Mary is after her man and loses no opportunity in being merciless and cruel to Mary.

    In the meantime, Eric Slater (Harland Williams) is a mysterious mute/autistic James-Dean like classmate who seems to be developing a crush on Mary.

    One day, Catholic Teen Magazine sponsors a talent contest at the school, the first prize being the chance to travel to Hollywood to participate as an extra in a film with "morally upright values." Mary sees this as a golden opportunity to finally show the world what she is capable of.

    So, will she make an even bigger fool of herself than she already is? Will Sky ever notice her? Is Eric as dangerous as everyone thinks he is? Will Mary end up with Sky, Eric, or neither? Stick around watching the film, and you will find answers to all these questions, and more. Whether you care or not and whether you can stand watching the film till the end are different questions altogether.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    They say bad films get good transfers. Well, chalk this one as one more towards the supporting evidence.

    The 1.75:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen transfer (close enough to the intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1) is certainly pleasant enough, with high levels of detail and bright, saturated colours that would make Austin Powers proud.

    The film source is clean, apart from some slight grain during the Jesus scenes. MPEG artefacts are limited to some ringing and haloing around the opening titles.

    There are a number of subtitle tracks on this disc. I turned on the English subtitles briefly just to verify their presence.

    Quite surprisingly, given that the length of the film is only 78:28 minutes, the film is presented on a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs at 62:57 and is mildly annoying due to a rather obvious and noticeable pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are no less than four audio tracks on this disc (English, Spanish, French, Italian), all in Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s). Actually, now I think I can guess why this film is spread across two layers. I listened to the English audio track.

    There are no issues with the soundtrack. It is well-presented, and even though Molly Shannon has a tendency to whisper Mary's lines, the dialogue was at all times clear and easy to understand. The audio track itself sounds reasonable, though nothing spectacular. There are no audio synchronization issues.

    The rear surround channels are reserved for musical ambience as this is a very dialogue-focused film. The subwoofer turned itself off about halfway into the film, so I guess there wasn't much contained in the subwoofer track.

    The music sounds like your typical teen comedy flick - lots of energy and silliness, and curiously lacking in deep bass.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extra on this disc is limited to a theatrical trailer. Curiously, the official film site contains quite a lot of material that may have been worthwhile transferring onto the disc, even as a DVD-ROM extra.

Menu

    The menus are static but 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer (2:10)

    The trailer is also presented in widescreen with 16x9 enhancement and looks somewhat soft compared to the film. The audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 with surround encoding.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    Both versions are equally good (or bad, if you prefer), and there is no compelling reason to prefer one over the other.

Summary

    Superstar is anything but. Only watch if you are a die-hard Saturday Night Live fan, and particularly if you love the Mary Katherine Gallagher character. The video and audio transfers are excellent, and extras are limited to a theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Thursday, November 29, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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