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Featured DVD Review: StarStruck

June 4th, 2010

StarStruck - Buy from Amazon: DVD or DVD / CD Combo Pack

StarStruck is the latest Disney TV Movie, and like so many recent releases, this one has a strong musical theme to it. When it first aired, it drew 6 million viewers. That's impressive, but not up to the level of the High School Musical franchise, for instance. I am not part of the target demographic, but I have reviewed those three films, so I at least have something to compare it to.

Newcomer Danielle Campbell stars as Jessica Olson, whose family is about to go on vacation to Los Angeles with her sister, Sara. She's not interested in this vacation, but her sister is determined to use it as a way of meeting teen pop sensation, Christopher Wilde, whom she has been stalking... I mean... no, I mean stalking for years. She's an original member of his fanclub and knows his daily routine so well she's convinced she'll be able to bump into him.

Meanwhile, Christopher is dealing with his girlfriend, Alexis, who seems to be using his fame to get attention for herself. His only real grounding is his friend, Stubby, and even that's not enough. His career takes a turn for the better when he's offered a part in a movie, but it's under the condition that he avoids scandal, including the paparazzi. This is a nearly impossible task, as Alexis alerts them every time she and Christopher are together. This includes her birthday, which she has gotten him to sing at. Knowing this, Sara has to go, but her parents won't let her unless Jessica comes along, promising that if she meets Christopher, she won't talk about him again for the rest of the trip. Of course, it's obvious that one of the Olson sisters will meet the rock star, but it is equally obvious it won't be his biggest fan.

Once Christopher and Jessica meet, he's intrigued by her grounded nature and how she is not immediately taken by his fame and charm. She, on the other hand, is not immediately taken by his fame or charm.

However, this is a romantic comedy, so you know that will change by the end.

Yes, the film is predictable, but I don't think this will be an issue for its target audience. Let's face it, you don't go into a romantic comedy expecting originality, you go in hoping for chemistry from the two leads. In this aspect the film struggles. Personally, I blame the writing. Instead of a clear story arc with character progression, Jessica's opinion of Christopher fluctuates far too quickly. He wins her over very easily, but then ends up making her angry just as fast. It's schizophrenic in tone and it makes Jessica less sympathetic because she's less rational. It also doesn't help that almost none of the main cast can sell the writing, either. This is Danielle Campbell's first major role, and it shows, as she struggles with giving her character emotional believability. But again, this does have a lot to do with the writing and perhaps the directing as well. Sterling Knight plays a character that is far too similar to the on he plays on Sonny with a Chance, which may or may not be a selling point to the target audience. Both Maggie Castle and Chelsea Staub played characters that were too one-note, while only Brandon Mychal Smith comes across as real.

Extras on the DVD focus solely on the music and consist of a sing-along version, i.e. subtitles! There are also three music videos. Meanwhile, the DVD / CD Combo Pack includes a bonus CD with 12 songs from the soundtrack for just $3.50 more. If you are a fan of the music, this is a good deal.

As for the music: it is heavily processed, pre-packaged, teenage pop. It's not my preferred genre, but then again, I'm not in the target demographic.

The Verdict

Comparing StarStruck to the High School Musical franchise is probably unfair, as that franchise is the biggest the Disney channel has produced. On the other hand, the film is about as strong as Camp Rock, which is to say it should please its target audience, even if the parents watching it with their kids will be less enthusiastic about the whole affair. The DVD doesn't have a whole lot of extras, so I would call it a rental. However, the DVD / CD Combo Pack is good value for the money and if you liked the movie that one is worth picking up.

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