Monday, February 15, 2010
I'm so starstruck. Where "starstruck" means "bored."
What is there to say? Last night Jess, Rachel, and I ate some chocolates and watched the movie. I woke up this morning and could not tell you a single thing about it. Starstruck wasn't kill-it-with-fire bad, unlike some DCOMs I could name, but it wasn't charming or entertaining or, well, anything. It just sort of... was a thing that was on the screen for a while there.
Basically: Sterling Knight, who we usually love, gave an entirely phoned-in performance as pop sensation Christopher Wilde, who can't escape the paparazzi no matter where he goes. He's being considered for a movie role, but the director tells him he won't get it if he keeps getting his picture on magazine covers with his girlfriend, because, you know, the people who make movies really, really hate it when their stars get free publicity, I guess. Meanwhile, Danielle Campbell, doing her best impression of a young Vanessa Hudgens, plays Jessica Olsen: a small-town girl who, due to wacky hijinks, ends up spending a day with SK trying to duck the paparazzi.
Naturally they fall for each other, despite the facts that they have zero chemistry, Jessica is really unpleasant, and nothing that happens makes any sense. SK has to pretend he doesn't know her so he can get the movie role, then decides he'd rather be with the girl than be in the movie, she gives a nonsensical speech to the press, he shows up at the school dance, and our TiVo spontaneously killed itself from the boredom a few minutes before the end.
And now, the commentary.
Becky: The first unfortunate thing is that Starstruck is also a Lady Gaga song.
Rachel: The second unfortunate thing is Sterling Knight's singing.
Jess: Wait, so the popular sister is the frumpy one?
Becky: I don't think on purpose.
Jess: Okay, the lady paparazzo's name is Libby Lam. You need to write that down so I can use it for a kicky girl reporter later.
Jess: Under 21 club! That's where all the movie stars go.
Becky: Ohhhhh, Brandon Smith. Are you sad you're always someone's sidekick?
Becky: Chelsea Staub is a super low-rent Amanda Bynes.
Rachel: I WAS GONNA SAY THAT.
Jess: The thing that's wrong with this, though, is that girls who are THIS INTO A POP STAR aren't cool and popular. They're insane and everyone knows it. Those girls I knew in high school who covered their walls, ceiling, and floor with pictures of NSYNC? Not popular!
SK's Mom/Manager: You look like a street kid.
Rachel: He looks like a STREET KID? Because he's in a T-SHIRT?
Becky: THERE IS A GIANT POSTER OF HIS FACE IN HIS LIVING ROOM! IT'S LIKE EAST HIGH ALL OVER AGAIN!
Jess: Oh man, I hope every DCOM from now on has a giant poster of someone's face. IT WORKED IN HSM. YOU MUST HAVE ONE.
Jess: Why is the older sister so old? She's clearly in her mid 20s.
Older Sister: *babbles something about chatting and texting and blogging*
Jess: OMG! Chats and texts and blogs! Kids today!
Jess: Why are they back at the same club?
Becky: It's the only club in LA!
Rachel: Did the black sidekick just talk about "chillin'"?
Jess: I'm more interested in why they appear to live together.
SK to Nico from SWATC: ...You live in my house for free, eat all my food, drive my car...
Jess: Why so many Libbies in this movie? There are at least three.
Becky: Not that one girl. She's smart because she was reading a book.
SK performs while wearing a shirt and some pants and looking bored.
Jess: They aren't even trying to make him look like a pop star.
Rachel: What are you talking about, he's wearing sunglasses!
Jess: They never taught him that if you pull the mic away from your face while you're singing, it looks real fake.
Nico from SWaC joins him onstage, rapping.
Jess: So the paid best friend is also famous...?
Rachel: I think you mean "kept boy."
Jess: What an excellent singing performance by Sterling's pet robot.
Becky: Why do they keep going to this one club?
Jess: Under 21 clubs are totally cool, and you should go to Disney's coolest club, in Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida! Tell your parents, kids!
Little Sister wanders around a completely deserted alley, then pukes for no reason.
Jess: Oh, she's in the deserted part of LA. ... I like her Laura Ashley dress. She's California Casual, just like Dawn Shafer.
Rachel: Why is the sidekick in highwater pants?
Jess: Why did she puke, exactly? Is she pregnant? That would be the best movie ever.
Rachel: Spoiler: she's not pregnant. But if she was, and Sterling had to marry her and pretend to be the father --
Jess: I would watch that SO HARD.
[hilarious shadow puppets and slap fighting]
Jess: SK and boring girl are wearing the same shade of lip gloss!
Jess: BWAHAHA, HIS NAME IS UP IN LIGHTS IN HIS ROOM. It would be so much better if he were playing this as Chad Dylan Cooper and not trying to be appealing.
Rachel: I wish the girl didn't have to be so virginal and deliver every line in that baby voice. Oh hi, I can't talk to boys if they aren't in my bible study group!
Jess: Are you gonna give me a promise ring? Otherwise I can't hold your hand!
Becky: This song has been going on for a really long, boring time.
Rachel: The girl agrees with you.
Jess: La la la, I have feelings and I sing high... if I sang low, I'd be threatening to 12-year-olds...
Rachel: But to be fair, he's more on key than Taylor Swift singing live.
Jess: I like his autotune. He keeps it in his pocket in case he needs it.
Rachel: Which he does.
[This song: How is it still going on??? The girl escapes to the garage, which is full of sports cars in eye-searingly bright primary colors.]
Jess: Are those Crayola cars? Or... what the Power Rangers drive?
[SK sings along with himself on the radio]
J, R, B in unison: NO NOT AGAIN.
Becky: Acting-wise, this girl is on about the same level as Hudge in the first HSM.
Jess: You mean eye-gougingly bad?
Becky: YES, EXACTLY.
SK and Little Sister push SK's car into Little Sister's empty garage. No, that's not a euphemism.
Jess: Why are they PUSHING the car? Why don't the parents have ANY cars?
Becky: What happened to the car they had earlier?!
Jess: Where'd he get that bucket hat, 1996??
Jess: Big Sister doesn't want to talk to Little Sister about why she (Big Sister) gets taken home by her celebrity crush's best friend after she (Little Sister) disappears? Okay. Also, I love how smug the older sister looks for no reason.
Rachel: I love her wide-eyed look of total crazy.
Becky: Little Sister is a mildly better actress when she's being bitchy.
Becky: Where did she run to? Why the close up of Little Sister just staring at nothing?
Jess: I like that they're wearing that matching look-what-gender-I-am hoodies.
Jess: Why does she hate her sister so much that she wouldn't even be like, "Please say hi to my sister"?
Rachel: Becky, if I ever meet Corbin Bleu, I'm not telling you.
SK and Little Sister run away from the beach to avoid the paparazzi.
Jess: Maybe he should buy an old, shitty car if he's sick of the paparazzi spotting him in nice ones. Also, do the paparazzi really helpfully drive around in giant, sinister black vans?
SK and Little Sister hide by pulling their shirts up over their noses.
Becky: "Where is Sterling Knight and that girl he's with? I just see a strange couple here with no bottom of their heads!"
Rachel: Are we about to have an "LA is awesome" montage? Because...LA isn't awesome.
Becky: They aren't trying at all with the acting.
Jess: She might be. Maybe she's just bad at it. ... Oh, her FACE. Nose scrunch of fake cuteness!
Becky: Uh, so, NO ONE in LA recognizes him, but the paparazzi stalk NO ONE ELSE? Gosh, I wonder if those photos will be a plot point later. Someone might find them! [Note from the future: Shockingly, they weren't. SK just moped over the slideshow of them he put on his laptop. Which is kind of even better.]
Jess: I hope it's her sister, who then STABS HER IN THE EYE.
SK and Little Sister get lost.
Rachel: It's not this hard to find the highway in LA!
Becky: Well, girls are bad navigators, and boys don't stop for directions!
Jess: I bet she wants to go buy shoes!
Becky: Are they stuck in quicksand? ... Oh my god, THEY ARE ACTUALLY STUCK IN QUICKSAND. I was joking.
The car is literally completely submerged.
Jess: Oh, it's just water. HOW DID HE DRIVE INTO THAT? THAT IS A LAKE.
Rachel: She didn't say to turn, and she's the navigator!
Jess: How is that the road?!!
SK: Dad, there's no signal, can you hear me?
Jess: Maybe if you'd put the phone by your mouth.
Little Sister: I'm going to beach where my sister is probably freaking out!!!
Jess: Not that you've cared for the past five hours!
[Some promo thing featuring Demi and the Jonii, um... doing fake old-school, Run DMC-style hip hop? And Nick implores us to keep it funky, and keep bouncing? And we don't hate it and find Demi adorable and the Jonii tolerable? WHAT IS HAPPENING, THE WORLD IS TOPSY TURVY. IT FEELS LIKE WE'RE HAVING A COLLECTIVE STROKE.]
Becky: Doesn't she have a right to be cranky? He did just drive her grandmother's car into a lake.
Jess: A very small, very deep lake.
Becky: ... wait, did she just say his black sidekick is his DRIVER???
Jess: WOW, is that inappropriate.
SK and Little Sister play in a lake. A clean one this time, not a hidden muddy car-eating one.
Becky: So since she was pissed, he dropped her in the lake...
Rachel: ...And now they're in love!
Jess: AUGH, his delivery.
Rachel: He's not even trying.
Jess: "Yeah this is fun, whatever, I'll say lines I guess..."
Jess: What's on his face?
Rachel: Eh, that's just his face.
Rachel: "I'm his driver! Or possibly his best friend, or possibly a rapper."
SK: "That was close!"
Rachel: "I almost acted!"
SK and Little Sister break up or something. LIKE TEN TIMES.
Jess: They've ended this scene, like, four times already.
Rachel: It's like the end of LotR. There are just going to be more hobbits on the bed. Also, if I hadn't seen SK in anything else, I'd think he was the worst actor ever.
Jess: And singer.
Rachel: I do think that, actually.
Becky: If he hates taking pictures, why did he just... walk up to those girls and take pictures?
Rachel: She's the only brunette in LA!
Rachel: Why would the paparazzi pay attention to the one crying girl? Isn't there always a crying girl around a pop star? And why does Sterling only know one chord?
Jess: And why did Big Sister just sit around at his table, in his house, and then just leave without waiting to see him or anything?
Rachel: Nice giant American flag, Boy Miley.
Jess: Is it man-hug time? Why is Nico from SWaC dressed for golf?
[Blonde girlfriend breaks up with him]
Rachel: The first word he's delivered well!
[She walks out. Nico from SWaC looks triumphant.]
Jess: "She dumped you! We can finally be together!"
Becky: Why is NO ONE is upset by the destruction of the pink car???
Plot: Throws up all over the screen.
Becky: Sterling, if you were serious about being in a movie, you would NEVER try and get more exposure in the press!
Jess: How dare you look at girls?!! It's a movie about a gay guy! Go make out with your sidekick!!
Rachel: Also, she's not doing anything in the picture! He's not even in it! It's just a picture of a girl!
Jess: It's like if someone took a picture of us tonight and was like, "STERLING KNIGHT IN ORGY WITH THREE JEWS!"
Jess: Also, OH MY GOD, he is doing the RIGHT THING by telling them not to follow you around because do you really want the paparazzi STALKING YOU? THIS MAKES NO SENSE!
Little Sister makes a tearful speech to the paparazzi about how horribly horrible they are for insinuating that SK dates girls.
Becky: Why are they there?!! What are you crying about??! WHAT IS GOING ON, I DON'T UNDERSTAND. HOW ARE THEY TEARING HIM DOWN BY SAYING HE'S DATING A PERSON???
Rachel: Becky, he can't date a girl.
Jess: They have cooties. Also, way to totally confirm that you know him, Little Sister.
Becky: What... WHAT are Brandon Smith's pants?
Jess: They're leggings. Purple ones. Also, he's the only one TRYING to act.
Becky: Pausing to rant. Just FYI, because I'm the only one who's watched Another Cinderella Story all the way through (and fair enough), but there is TOTALLY A SCENE in that where Drew Seeley talks to his token black sidekick and then storms in to talk to his parental manager and fires her. And yeah, Drew Seeley? WAY BETTER fake pop star than Sterling Knight.
Jess: Because he's a fake pop star in real life.
Becky: "Come to the dance with me. I've been horrible to you and you keep ditching me and leaving me places, and also didn't help me meet the guy I'm in love with who you spent all that time with, but it's totally cool because we're sisters!"
Little Sister: "You're a good sister."
Big Sister: "Aww. Pretend you don't know me."
Becky: Oh godddd, he's going to sing again. SK, you need to Christian Bale this shit right off your resume.
Jess: Couldn't he have just, like, held up a boombox or something?
[And then the TiVo cut the damn thing off for no reason!]
Becky: Okay. Well... let's make up an ending.
Rachel: She slaps him and is like, "Don't use my high school dance as your forum."
Jess: And he goes back to Hollywood and cries. Then he makes out with his best friend. The end.
So in conclusion... That was a waste of our time. When we tune in to DCOMs, we expect crazy capers and wacky hijinks, not to be bored to death. We don't watch DCOMs for quality (it's an occasional bonus), we watch to be entertained. Starstruck wasn't outright terrible, but it committed the cardinal sin of boring the crap out of us.
Not to mention that it was a little bit infuriating that SK seems to have just decided not to act throughout it. He was never going to make a great fake pop star -- he's a decent actor, but not a singer or dancer -- but he's almost always charming. Here, it seems like he didn't even try. (Seriously, dude, you are too good for this, talent-wise, but you're not famous enough to just phone it in.)
On the other hand, both of the sisters were just dreadful. SK wasn't trying; they were, we assume, but they were just bad at their jobs.
Overall, the only thing about this that was actually at all enjoyable, or good? Brandon Smith. He's consistently amusing on Sonny With a Chance, and was both entertaining and actually decent at acting in his few scenes in here. Disney, get this kid his own DCOM where he doesn't have to be someone's sidekick, please.