Stardom (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Stardom is a mockumentary in the general style of Chris Guest's works, showing the evolution of a top female junior hockey player to international modeling stardom. Critical opinions were wildly divergent. Only 17% positive reviews, but Apollo gave it 85/100! This would fit the classic definition of a cult film, which is a film that is not liked by a majority of people, but those that like it, love it.

It paints with a very broad brush. Since the supermodel dates athletes, ambassadors, businessmen, artists, and other media figures, it has a chance to take a swipe at all of those worlds and their denizens. Of course, models also come into contact with those who don't much like them, like intellectuals, women's groups, and anti-fur elements, so the movie gets to take swipes there as well. 

It probably saves its sharpest claws for the media, which report her thoughts, her lovers, and her personal life as if it were truly significant material, often knocking major stories from the headlines. The satire encompasses every aspect of the media from major news organizations to Springer-like talk shows to local public access stations and PBS telethons. 


Jessica Pare is seen topless as she attempts to push a camera away.
That very broad brush probably keeps the film from being as good as it should be. Guest's "Best in Show" managed to make the mockumentary format involve us by allowing us to see the real human motivations beneath the satire, and to see genuinely three-dimensional people, even if they had broadly comical sides to their lives. Stardom, on the other hand, tries to tackle so much that we never get to know or like anyone. Even the supermodel (Jessica Paré) remains largely a cipher, as she needs to be for the film's POV to remain consistent. 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • barebones except for a trailer

Despite some dazzling technique and good production values, the movie ends up being cynical without being either very funny or very human, rather like those websites of teenagers which simply list "things that suck" and "things that rule". 

This is just kind of the director's list of things that suck, and is not imbued with enough respect for the real people who are being satirized. 

I did laugh quite a bit, but I also sat there for long stretches where I could predict every word everyone would say. 

Tuna's Thoughts

Stardom (2000) is a Canadian mockumentary about a female Canadian hockey player who becomes a supermodel. It is meant to be a spoof of modeling, stardom, the fashion industry, advertising, etc. While I laughed out loud at some scenes (my favorite was two experts pointing out that buying animal fur coats was supporting indigenous people, and therefore the only moral thing to do), the pace was dizzying, and I ran out of energy long before I ran out of film. Jessica Pare looked wonderful as the hockey player turned super-model, and did a one frame topless scene yelling at her husband for filming her nude.

The film bombed at the box office, and most critics were not impressed, but those who enjoy the film really enjoy it. The problem with the film was not execution, but rather concept. The idea would have been a killer 30 minute skit, but the gags wore very thin after the first half hour. This is no Spinal Tap, or Almost Famous.

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 85/100

  • It was nominated for several important Genie Awards (Canadian equivalent of the Oscars), including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.2, Apollo users 68/100 
  • With their dollars ... unsuccessful. Tried in the USA, it took in $10,000 on ten screens. It did take in about 200,000 Canadian dollars in its native land, or the monetary equivalent in pelts.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this is a C+ (Scoop) or "C at best" (Tuna). If you like cynical, sneering mockumentaries, this is a pretty good bit of straight-faced cynicism. Mainstream filmgoers will probably find that the film merely offers a sneer when it should offer wit,  that it delivers no emotional connection to the characters, and that there are too many characters for any of them to be developed properly.

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