The actress chosen for this film needed not only to match Shirley Temple's talent (for recreating the movie scenes), but had to rise above that talent to portray the private Shirley Temple without resorting to parody. This film failed miserably to portray Shirley Temple off screen and it wasn't all Orr's fault. The director seemed to give her only one direction "do your Shirley Temple impression" and the scriptwriter (with help by the real Shirley Temple-Black) just didn't have much to give Orr. The best scenes were the recreations of the classic films and it is here where Orr's impression was appropriate and well done. However, Orr was never convincing as Shirley Temple off the set and reminded me of all those Shirley-wannabes that mothers dressed their children like during Shirley Temple's most successful years. There was even a quirky scene in this film where Shirley's dad is bombarded by these wannabe stage moms and their wannabe Shirleys that brought everything full circle. Orr looked as much like Shirley Temple as any kid with a curly wig, tap shoes, and a short polka-dotted dress. One of the big problems with the film is the fact that Shirley Temple had relatively little drama, little conflict, in her real life. Her parents didn't beat her, she wasn't a drunk, and there were no major deaths in her life. She didn't have to struggle and according to the film, didn't even have to work very hard. Good for her, but where's the story? Orr is an energetic actress, but there was just too much Orr. The scriptwriters struggled to come up with any conflict and chose a silly sub-plot about Amelia Earhart's death (with a walk-on by another parody...Earhart was even wearing a flight jacket!!! What, no goggles?). Worse, they worked the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz into the entire arc of the film as if Shirley Temple's career was nothing in comparison to that role. Every major actor has been up for a role that became a classic for another actor. Classics are created by a perfect match of cast and film. A good rule of thumb is that if the film was a classic, and wouldn't have been with a major cast change. Oz probably would have been just another Shirley Temple film instead of a classic. Judy Garland's adult-like persona actually made the film the classic it became. Is there anyone besides Ms. Temple-Black that doesn't believe that the world was blessed to have Garland play Dorothy? Jeesh, can you believe that Temple so miffed about that one that she would make it a major plot point? Get over it Shirley, you did a good job with Heidi. Oh my goodness! Since Temple's life was actually quite boring and all the drama was in her film roles. Not surprisingly, Shirley the person pales in comparison to her roles and this film pales against the memory of her classic movies. If they ever make a sequel about an adult Shirley Temple downing Tequillas and tranquilizers in her bathroom over the loss of never playing Dorothy Gale I'll watch. Especially if the actress wears a curly wig, tap shoes, and a short polka-dotted dress.
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