Volume 93, Issue 25

Thursday, October 14, 1999


SNL's latest movie effort short of super

Buckner sings the blues

Eve's sins forgivable on Lady

SNL's latest movie effort short of super

Photo by Kerry Hayes
AND SOMETIMES, WHEN I KNOW MY MOVIE'S GOING TO FLOP, I STICK MY FINGERS IN MY ARMPITS THEN SMELL THEM. Molly Shannon plays the socially inept Mary Katherine Gallagher who gets her chance to become a superstar in the latest SNL feature comedy.

By Chad Finkelstein
Gazette Staff

It's the worst feeling in the world. It happens during lectures, when driving for a long time and especially during bad movies. It's the watch-check. When you're positive the anguish can't last for a second longer, the clock mocks you for thinking the torment is complete.

So, one can imagine the pain endured after being sure Superstar was finally coming to an end, that only a mere half-hour had passed.

Picture the least funny Saturday Night Live skit in the show's esteemed history desperately stretched into a one hour and forty-five minute disaster – then you'll feel a twinge of the pain.

By the discouraging half-hour mark, Mary Katherine Gallagher (Molly Shannon) has been established as the nervous, insecure, devastatingly socially awkward Catholic school girl based on her television alter ego. Her goal in life is to kiss a guy for the first time, unfortunately, the one her sights are set on is already taken.

The object of her obsession is Sky Corrigan (Will Ferrell), the school jock with a beautiful, yet bitchy, girlfriend. He, of course, appears to be unattainable until some distasteful remarks his girlfriend makes about Mary Katherine repel him. These remarks lead him to jump on the wannabe-superstar's bandwagon.

Superstar revolves around Mary Katherine's struggle to get some nookie while conquering adversity, humiliating her nemesis and restoring her family's honour. This opportunity arises when a school talent show gives her the chance to showcase her hidden gifts and win a role in a movie, where she can finally lock lips with her beau. Of course, the underdog wins and gains popularity every loser dreams of, in a process almost as exciting as peeling the gum off your shoes.

It's not even worth detailing the plot holes and inconsistencies, as viewer expectations usually are lowered for SNL movies. Aside from one or two humourous lines which manage to seep through on the merit of delivery rather than script, this movie is incapable of mustering laughs, unless your idea of comedy involves the image of somebody making out with a tree.

Since there's apparently no sense of humour incorporated into Superstar, the audience is forced to feel a sense of pity. The actors actually do go to great lengths in the name of amusement, but they never attain success. Shannon subjects herself to licking dirty tree bark and stop signs, as well as making constant degrading references to her body. Nobody laughs, though. Everybody just feels bad for her and wants to tell her to stop embarrassing herself.

Sympathy should also go out to director Bruce McCulloch (Kids in the Hall), whose direction of this shameful mess could be a destructive career move, considering his comic ability. As well, the comedic talents of Harland Williams, better known as the hitchhiker from There's Something About Mary, are offensively wasted.

Thankfully, newly crowned Canadian comic hero Tom Green shows up occasionally to great effect. He's not given nearly enough lines, but his presence is enough to make the most joyless scenes appear watchable.

Maybe if he had been cast as the lust object, Mary Katherine's pursuit would have been a lot less stagnant. Or maybe the movie should just never have been made and everyone could have been spared the agony of seeing Superstar's defeat.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999