Disney // 2009 // 84 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Daryl Loomis // June 30th, 2010
You've got to believe.
So it's come to this: Disney Channel original movies. This might not be so rough for reviewers with tweenage children; they can provide hours of safe, babysitter-ready viewing material. I, however, do not have tweens running around my house, so let's just get through this while I still have my sanity.
The Olson family has traveled from their home in Kalamazoo to Los Angeles to visit grandma. Beth (Danielle Campbell, The Poker House), the youngest daughter, is happy to spend some quality family time, but her older sister, Sara (Maggie Castle, Weirdsville), has other plans. She's obsessed with teeny pop sensation Christopher Wilde (Sterling Knight, Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale) and intends to find him in the big city, just to get a peek. The trouble is that her parents force her to take Beth along, who hates the pop idol's sappy tunes. They find him at a club and sneak in, but they get separated. After a paparazzi attack, Christopher winds up hiding in Beth car. He's intrigued that she thinks his music sucks, so tries to woo her. Can Beth open her heart to someone she thinks is emotionally bankrupt?
Oh, Sterling Knight, you're so dreamy. Your eyes, crystal blue like a bubbling brook. Your voice, so soft and smooth. You seem so safe; I wonder what you look like without your...what, wait, where am I? Sorry, got a little caught up in the moment...ahem...
While it's pretty obvious that StarStruck is not made for me or those of my ilk, the film is objectively as awful as Christopher Wilde's music. If you're reading this and saying to yourself, "Hey! That jerk critic is making fun of Sterling Knight, my favorite Disney Channel superstar," then StarStruck is likely for you. I hope you enjoy it, but you have no reason to continue reading. Reruns of Hannah Montana are probably on anyway.
This insipid little entry is poorly acted, poorly written, and completely predictable. The worst thing, by far though, is the music. In modern pop, it's easy to delineate those who can sing from those who cant. The key is the Auto-Tune, a processor that forces your voice in tune whether you can make it there or not. This technique has made Disney singers sound decent for a decade. Sterling Knight can't sing at all. This becomes very clear during the third musical number. In the first two, he's performing in clubs, where vocal effects and processors are expected. Number three, on the other hand, takes place during a pool party at his parents house. He whips out his acoustic and starts playing. He's no Frank Zappa, but it looks like he's playing. Then, he starts to sing. There's no microphone and no PA, but there is the Auto-Tune. Either his voice naturally sounds like this, or he can't sing to save his life. I'll leave you to choose.
Technically, it's a competent production, on par with what I understand to be the quality of other Disney Channel movies. It's a bright and colorful film with jokes that should appeal to the twelve-year-old set. The beaches are clean and safe, the nightclubs aren't rife with drunken predators; in other words, total fantasy. The story is ridiculous and trite, the acting is at an amateur level, and the soundtrack, of course, is awful.
Disney's DVD of StarStruck is pretty good, though, with a top quality image transfer, an unfortunately booming sound mix, and a few extras the tweens will enjoy. Three music videos serve as clip shows of the movie and a karaoke option gives you the song lyrics in bright bold type so you can sing along to your heart's content. On a separate disc, Disney also provides the soundtrack, so you can listen while studying for your spelling test. Why you'd want to hear these songs without seeing Sterling Knight's dreamy eyes, I can't say. These tracks will, however, be ripped onto my computer so I can annoy friends at my convenience.
Guilty, but the market for this movie could care less what I think.
Review content copyright © 2010 Daryl Loomis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Music Videos
* Soundtrack CD