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Pop Star
cast: Aaron Carter, Alana Austin, David Cassidy, Kimberly Kevon Williams, and Adrianne Palicki

director: Richard Gabai

90 minutes (PG) 2005
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
J.D. McQueen (Aaron Carter) is a pop star. Teenage girls scream as he performs on stage and his songs are a constant feature of the top 10 charts. But offstage he's just another teenage boy and his grades are failing. His mother cancels his home schooling, so now J.D. (or Joe) has to make his way through high school.

Pop Star is an entirely prefabricated film. It's certainly watchable if you're in the mood for an unchallenging hour and a half, but it leaves no impression behind. This is set in a kind of high school never-land where everyone - with a few exceptions such as the comic-relief fat kid - is drop-dead gorgeous and loaded. Jane (Alana Austin) is meant to be a friendless, straight-As geek, but putting teeth braces on her doesn't disguise the fact that she's as stunning as the rest. The script is full of lazy writing like this: we know that Jane is one of the good guys and gals because her best friend is black - while the equally good looking Whitney (Adrianne Palicki) is, well, just a bitch out of central casting. Aaron Carter is a pop star making a big-screen debut (he's done TV roles). He's good looking in a blond, bland sort of way. He was 18 when he made this, though he looks barely old enough to shave. Meanwhile, a real pop star of the past, David Cassidy, turns up in the supporting role of J.D.'s manager, Grant.

On the other side of the camera, there's nothing of much distinction to report: it's directed in a point-and-shoot manner and shot with the over-lit look of a TV movie. Musically, it's as you might expect, in a neutered pop lite sort of way. It's as if Elvis never shook his hips on The Ed Sullivan Show. The crunch of an electric guitar that announces the end credits (while behind-the-scenes footage plays on screen) is really out of place. Even the bass is mixed down low, lest it excite this film's PG demographic too much.

There's not a lot to write home about the DVD either. The DVD transfer is anamorphic 1.85:1. The soundtrack is Dolby digital 5.1, which only really disturbs other speakers than the centre one during the musical numbers. There are optional English subtitles and the only extra is the trailer.
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