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Stardom = Shallowdom = Brilliance
AZINDN6 September 2005
The cult of celebrity and beauty is exposed in the blackest humor by Denys Arcand with the hysterical Stardom. Jessica Pare as Tina Menzel is a vacuous beauty who is never allowed to be more than a pretty face and sexy body. A cast of mostly Canadian actors, Dan Ackroyd (SNL), Thomas Gibson (Dahrma and Greg), and newcomer Pare are cast to perfection in a scathing parody of entertainment television, expose documentaries, fashion television, and talk shows. Frank Langella (HBO Unscripted) portrays stuffy Blaine De Castillion, an aging minor diplomat who marries a trophy wife only to be thrown over by her for yet another monosyllabic athletic type.

Tina is the young victim of her own beauty and presented as an uneducated, unsophisticated, and naive girl swept into the heights of celebrity solely by the manipulation of her stunning face and figure. She is the victim of both men and women of the fashion trade that cash in. The modeling world which Tina inhabits is exposed with stunning cinematography as Arcand strips away the layers of commercialism that relies on selling the notions of youth and physical perfection like Tina Menzel.

No pc topic is overlooked by Arcand who takes a swipe at Canada's First Nation's eco-hype and indigenous spirituality, PETA animal rights fanaticism, heavily accented Canuk celebrity reporters, ice hockey, and feminist-lesbian-politics all with hilarious results.

Thomas Gibson as the steely agent for the multinational public relation agency that represents Tina never permits his client to be anything but the innocent yet desirable money-making product. Gibson's brief b/w screen time reflects a high production cosmetic ad and both Pare and Gibson are beautifully photographed to highlight their physical attractiveness, yet theirs is the only on screen relationship never consumated. Gibson's performance is both subtle, ambiguous, and dead on, esp. teaching a 400-level Yale course in "Sports and Celebrity Entertainment" and warning students of Millie-Vanilli versus Celine Dion talent spotting.

With little exposure beyond HBO screenings, Stardom continues to be true to the reality TV trend, yet, while it was ahead of its time, particularly in comments about full frontal nudity and Meg Ryan that unfortunately have come true, Arcand's film is often so subtle its droll satire flies over the heads of an unreflective public failing to grasp the humor and truth of the informed filmmaker.
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Biting satire with a beautiful face
sfbearcop15 May 2004
In the vein of "This is Spinal Tap" and the other mocumentary films out there, "Stardom" manages to take shots at almost every aspect of celebrity, Canadian-ness, high-fashion and a lot more. I found this one while looking for something to watch on a slow Friday night, "Third Watch" having gone on summer hiatus. I have always liked Akroyd and the plot looked like fun. Of course, had I seen a picture of Jessica Paré, I wouldn't have needed anything more. She looks very much like Liv Tyler, minus the famous and luscious Tyler lips. Paré's character, Tina Menzhal, is the epitome of a beautiful tomboy -- yeah, as one viewer said she looks too pretty to be a trade-school hockey player; she has all her teeth -- but anomalies do exist.

There are some slow moments, but the movie mostly moves along well, blending the footage shot by the obsessive film maker, (played so well by Robert Lepage) -- mostly in B&W -- with stuff from other points of view. It isn't a deep character study -- although we do get to see a bit of what goes into some of the main characters -- but it is a very funny movie. I won't spoil it, but Frank Langella has one scene which represents what a lot of people might want to say, and I bet he enjoyed it. He, Akroyd, Gibson and the other supporting actors do great work. In fact it is some of the best work I've seen Akroyd do since the high days of SNL.

I've never seen Denys Arcand's work before -- and understand this is atypical -- but don't think he has anything to be ashamed of. This is a well made, biting but very funny satire of fame, the media and life in our modern world. Highly recommended at 7.5 out of 10. Really.
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Arcands blends the lines between fame and reality
Shiva-1110 October 2000
Fame. According to Andy Worhol, everybody gets his or her fifteen minutes. How you react when plunged into the spotlight, or whether you even get a choice is something all together different. Tina Menzhal goes from being just another small town girl playing hockey to international superstar when her picture finds its way into the right hands. She suddenly finds herself, starring as fruit in TV commercials, walking the runways in New York and Paris and dating the rich and other famous. Thanks to the invasive camera of a documentary filmmaker, we get an inside view of the madness.

The famous people project an image - they go to all the right parties, drive the snazziest cars, date the shiny people and attract a legion of hangers on. Money, a need to be seen and on occasion pheromones, drive their life and relationships, and they lack any real substance. They are usually found in the company of the most vacuous species of all - the supermodels. Although these flawless walking trademarks are literally placed on a pedestal, with people constantly fawning over them, they are secretly reviled, derided as phonies and thought to be incapable of forming a coherent thought on any subject beyond make-up. Even more bizarre is the fact that most women will go to ridiculous lengths to look like them.

Denys Arcand's Stardom is merciless in its indictment of the media, fame, and the cult of beauty. The media - from "legitimate" reporters to Jerry Springer style talk show hosts - are portrayed as scheming, incompetent, sensationalist sycophants who will do whatever possible to get the story, build up the stars and then spend the rest of the time trying to tear them down. No detail of someone's life is too private to escape scrutiny, indeed the more personal it is the better the story - not a big stretch… The symbiosis between the media and fame is depicted as an incestuous co-dependent relationship.

Cast in the role of Tina is relative newcomer (she had a small role in a mini-series) Jessica Pare. Although she had originally sent in a tape for a minor role, when she walked in for her audition Arcand knew immediately that he had found his Tina. Pare has the necessary combination of stunning beauty, and innocence to be believable as the young unknown catapulted to superstardom. Dan Akroyd, is brilliant as the staid, married restauranteur who becomes so enraptured with Tina's beauty that he completely loses himself and everything he holds dear pursuing her. Frank Langella is amusing as the aging diplomat caught in a late life crisis, who tries vainly to control Tina so that he may bask in her beauty, and is burned when he gets too close to the flame.

Artful direction, up close and personal cinematography and great performances sometimes make you forget you're watching a mockumentary. At times I felt like I was watching an accident - I was repulsed and intrigued at the same time. The characters, although somewhat outlandish at times, are not overly ridiculous - for anyone with any doubts, pick up a copy of "Variety" or "People" to see what fame can do to person.

The real question is whether life will imitate art for Ms. Pare.
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A good satire of modern life!
dvanhouwelingen27 November 2000
Denys Arcand's new film STARDOM is a very funny satire of the celebrity obsessed times we live in. Jessica Pare plays Tina Menzhal, a girl from Cornwall, Ontario who becomes a supermodel. Along the way we see how the media reacts to her and her relationships. The film is funny throughout with wonderful supporting work from Dan Aykroyd, Frank Langhella and Thomas Gibson. Although Arcand goes too far sometimes, the film is overall and excellent satire of modern life.
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A portrait of an idiotic society which finds and discards superficial heroes
max von meyerling9 March 2004
Really an excellent little film, it reads like an update of DARLING in that it details the vacuous inner life of a young woman whose physical appearance is her only quality but one which take her around the world as a successful model and to the very pinnacle of her profession. However it is something of a cautionary tale as her inner vacuousness means she can never appreciate what she has or analyze how she got it. Because of her looks and success and fame no one ever stops to ask her. She is a moral imbecile but that too goes unremarked upon because everybody else in her world is one too and the only thing that is noticed about a human personality is material success i.e. either you're a winner or a loser.

The ending is perfect as it plays far more realistically than the comeuppance of Darling where the heroine has achieved the status of a princess but yet she is deathly bored. The heroine of STARDOM doesn't even have that ability to self reflect. While STARDOM plays less bitterly than DARLING because it is less a poison portrait of a manipulating bitch than social criticism, a presentation of an idiotic society which finds and discards superficial heroes, the more blank the better, as a matter of course. If the heroine of STARDOM actually had an intellect, or a central nervous system, she might be regarded as a victim but she seems to have less self awareness than the replicantes of BLADE RUNNER. The ending is chilling for the more sentient audience members, others will be puzzled by what the big deal is at an apparent happy ending.

These are the people who are indirectly being criticized in STARDOM.
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Worth It
plbrooks15 September 2002
The movie is quite clever and pops along very quickly, making it an easy 'watch'. The great looking Jessica Pare does an excellent job playing the rags to riches to rags supermodel Tina Menzhal, and Dan Aykroyd plays a resturant tycoon who loses everything in his pursuit of Tina. I thought this movie was very funny and fun to watch. Nothing too heavy or groundbreaking, just good clean fun. 7 of 10.
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A film less about superficiality than about absence.
JPH28 May 2003
STARDOM is a film that has been thoroughly misunderstood.

Seen as a film about the superficiality of the modeling industry and the trivia of all media commentary, it is actually a film about the absence of a fully determining, existential self. On reflection--something most viewers have not had the patience to do--STARDOM is about the loss of moral centre in a world devoted to celebrity celebration and instant gratification. Have a look at it. Think about it. There is more to STARDOM than meets the eye!
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superficial study of a superficial world
stephenpaultaylor5 January 2005
I was very surprised by this movie. I knew nothing about it except for Monsieur Arcand, and his oeuvre, so, needless to say, I was surprised at this "effort".

In an movie with nods to "Waiting for Guffman" (and movies of that ilk, which I love) but without the humour. The characterizations where over-the-top and annoying, the characters were mostly (including the lead, who was indeed gorgeous) cardboard, two-dimensional characters; completely unsympathetic and without any redeeming qualities whatsoever. So much of this movie felt so cliché, and I realize Arcand was probably going for a sort of over-the-top spoof of the fashion world, lampooning everyone involved in the business and that whole universe, wrought with superficiality and glossiness, but his strokes were too broad; the characters too transparent. Not to mention that we've seen it all before. Think of Altman's Ready To Wear. It just seems like an easy target. If you're not going to say anything new or enlightening about a subject, why say anything at all? For a movie to succeed, at the heart of it there needs to beat a soul, and this movie seemed to have none, whatsoever. Even a movie with a broad, exaggerated form of humour needs to have, deep in its core, a heart that beats real blood; something the audience can identify with and understand.

This is a surprising turn for Arcand, who has made a career making movies that are so full of human truths and insights. I found myself longing for "Le Declin de L'Empire Americain" or "Jesus de Montreal", in which the characters were authentic and sympathetic, and the stories fascinating.

Spoofs are fine. Broad comedies are fine. But as movies such as "Waiting for Guffman" and "Best in Show" will attest to; you need to care about the characters on screen, even if things they do are ridiculous.

Just because the universe of fashion reeks of superficiality, doesn't mean a movie spoofing it should be just as if not more superficial than the world it's attacking.
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RavenGlamDVDCollector19 February 2017
This movie, this... er, movie, the term has to be used very loosely here... This movie does not feel like watching a movie. I had the feeling that I was watching the Special Features, the Making of STARDOM, Behind the Scenes on the set of STARDOM, okay, that was the appetizer, now for the real meat... Oops, you mean, that was it?

It's not that I do not get it. Make your own impression from the evidence given, that sort of thing. It's not that I do not like the glitzy images. Of course I do. But where's the story, people, where's the character-driven real watchable story?

Okay, it's not totally devoid of story. Of character. About every ten or fifteen minutes or so, something along that line, well, sort of, I guess, happens...

There has never been a good story about models. There has been a great movie about fashion, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, but about models, no. (Everybody kicks MODELS INC. so I'll be quiet about that) Yet the modeling world is one that could really be the subject of a great movie.

After LOST AND DELIRIOUS, did research on Jessica Paré, and decided to get me STARDOM. There were several warnings posted by reviewers and commentators, but of course, I wanted to see for myself. A downloaded bit, trailer I think, spurred me on. But when watching, you realize how empty the experience is, feels like channel- surfing during Fashion Week. Something here, something there, mostly nothing really.

I give a an exceedingly high score to Jessica Paré's beauty, the look of a newborn thing, I mean, she looks newer than brand-new, ooh wow... But the movie plods on and on without there being any REAL story. This quickly becomes a quagmire of a bunch of looped fashionable images that remains NOT A REAL MOVIE.

I get what they were trying to do, but they should have tackled it in a different way, with a more conventional presentation.

Looks like Second Unit camera work. You know, the guys who film the montage scenes.

Think of what you see here, as the set dressing. Now just add the STORY.

For crying out loud, Jessica Paré deserves better!
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Price of Fame.
Python Hyena16 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Stardom (2000): Dir: Denys Arcand / Cast: Jessica Pare, Thomas Gibson, Dan Aykroyd, Frank Langella, Patrick Huard: A satire about making it in Hollywood. Jessica Pare stars as a model who was snapshot at a hockey game. She meets her father on a talk show after years of abandonment. She becomes involved with an entrepreneur who is jailed for assault. She marries the Canadian Ambassador to the U.N. Conclusion is clear that she never took responsibility for negative actions but Jessica Pare plays off the greed of fame and manipulation while struggling for identity. It examines the false play on media and rising above expectations. Director Denys Arcand, who previously made the French classic The Decline of the American Empire as well as the religious mockery of Jesus of Montreal, gives an effective documentary feel. Pare is backed by excellent supporting players all associated within the hunger for fame. Thomas Gibson plays a promoter who marvels at the rise of Pare. Dan Aykroyd plays a sleazy entrepreneur who goes too far in his relationship with Pare. Frank Langella plays the Ambassador who comes to see this relationship as more a disease after he attempts to control her. Patrick Huard makes an appearance as a Montreal talk show host in a promise to things to come. Strong theme regarding fame, media and the struggle for dignity. Score: 9 / 10
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Arcand Showcases his Keen Eye for the Obvious
edisto_sc9 September 2000
I attended the Gala presentation of Arcand's Stardom at the Toronto Film Festival last night and was so disappointed I felt myself getting angrier and angrier for wasting my time through this cliche critique of the supermodel world.

It was unoriginal, uninspired and totally uninteresting.

I am repeatedly dismayed by my fellow Canadians who champion this sort of crap just because it is Canadian.

If you hated other films like Cronenberg's M Butterfly, Egoyan's Exotica, Whale Music, and other Canadian films that were over-hyped, can add this to the list.

It is a stinker and deserves the Raspberry.

No point in outlining the plot -- it's so predictable and one-dimensional. I'm too embarrassed to introduce you to the characters which never develop, are cliche stock characters portrayed by a series of displays of incredibly bad acting.

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What an Awful Film!
eric32 October 2002
"Stardom" is one of the worst films I've ever seen. With the exception of the lead, the lovely Jessica Paré, this movie is an embarrassment for everyone involved. Come to think of it, has there ever been a movie with Frank Langella in it that doesn't suck (Body of Evidence, anyone?).

It is a shame that so many talented film makers out there never get a chance to film their visions due to a lack of funding, while a piece of crap like this gets made. Speaking of crap, there is actually a scene late in this film where a disgruntled former model has an exhibit of sculptures made out of her own feces (I am completely serious). "Sh--, just like my life", she says. I said to myself, "You should be saying: sh--, just like this movie".
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the usually dependable Arcand makes an unusual dog
movieman_kev10 April 2006
18 year old fatherless Tina (Jessica Pare) is a Canadian female hockey player who rises to stardom as a model when a small time sports photographer snaps her pic. One would think that a mockumentary about the superficiality of the entertainment/ modeling industry would have some bite behind it. But sadly this is far from the case with this film which paints it's humor in extremely broad strokes and is often as superficial as the industry that it's supposedly parodying. The fact that the film comes from the usually quite dependable Deny Arcand only pours salt in an already gaping wound. When you get down to it, the sad fact is that we've seen this same plot done MUCH better in the past and more than likely we will again in the future.

Eye Candy: Jessica Pare gives glimpses of her ass & a VERY nice shot of her magnificent natural melons(but you have to struggle with the film for a tad more than an hour to get to this, so just skip this and watch her in "Lost and Delirious" instead)

My Grade: D

Where i saw it: @ Max
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George Parker4 February 2002
At first blush I thought "Stardom" had the appearance of a film worth watching with sufficient talent on its roster to ensure some kind of entertainment. Wrong! A pointless film which attempts to tell a tongue-in-cheek story of a model's struggle in fashion and off-target haute couture satire, "Stardom" is little more than a confused mess of vignettes, interviews, talk show appearances, etc. Pass on this uninspired loser which is too kinetic to even make good soporific.
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This film is just plain bad
lotusleaf17 July 2009
I am watching this movie now and beside myself at how poor the casting was in this film, it is terribly and terrificly acted by most with maybe the exception of Tina's sister, a virtually unknown actress, maybe the actors have no comedic timing, but Pare specifically makes on camera acting mistakes I haven't seen since on camera acting 101, she is unbelievably plastic and lacks any emotive qualities whatsoever, there are no layers or dimensions in her character structure whatsoever her likability is nil, I'm watching a train wreck by a director who should've taken more care with his film instead of just collecting a paycheck which is what this film looks like
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Quirky, entertaining social comedy.
TxMike20 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I found the "Stardom" DVD alone and lonesome on my public library shelf. I knew nothing about it but the short synopsis on the DVD box was interesting, so I watched it. At first the quirky characters really bothered me, then I realized it is a comedy spoof, then everything seemed to fit. Although it isn't a truly excellent film, I rate it a bit higher than most. I would think those who think movies like "Waiting For Guffman" or "Austin Powers" are fun would also like this one.

The premise is very simple, very ordinary - a tomboy hockey-playing Canadian girl is noticed by a photographer and, literally out of thin air with no talent, the industry and media convert her into a supermodel. Along the way she encounters many strange people and strange situations, some she handles well, most she doesn't. I liked it because the humor is unconventional and fun.

SPOILERS - do not read further if you have not seen this film. OK?

First off, Jessica Paré who plays the hockey player turned model doesn't look like a hockey player, especially in the opening scene where she is skating among two teams of real female hockey players. However, staying in character, one of the funniest moments was when she was a working model, in the street with fur on for a photo shoot, a PETA lady runs up and throws red paint on the fur, the model turns around, knocks the protester to the ground, and commences to totally whip up on her. The funny part was the unexpected reaction of a "model".

As a model she gets romantically involved with almost every male she works with - her protographer, a restauranteur (Dan Aykroyd), an ambassador (Frank Langella), and a couple of others. She naievly thinks they adore her for her brains, when in fact all each wanted was a trophy girlfriend or wife. That is part of the spoof of this movie. Aykroyd's character is so taken with her that he leaves his wife and family, sets up a new restaurant in NYC, gives her lavish gifts, is eventually arrested for cheating his partners by embezzlement. He destroyed his life for his fantasy of love with the model.
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Hilarious Satire on Beauty and its Forces !!!
cshep1 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Jessica Pare' stars as the lovely small town girl, who blossoms into a Super Model, only with destructive consequences to the suitors who are drawn to her !

Ever wonder what the value of "Beauty" has to the World ?, this film "Stardom", defines it to a "T", and then some.

Canadian Indie film, Directed by Denys Arcand and co-written with Jacob Potashnik delve into the world of glamor and Super Models, with the gorgeous Tina Menzhal(Jessica Pare'), who gets lovelier and lovelier with each passing shot.

Starring at hockey, Tina is "DISCOVERED" and becomes the cause celebere', a Super Hot property modeling everything from starring TV commercials to the hottest runways in the world.

Enter Barry Levine(Dan Ackroyd) a married man with children who dumps them and invests everything he has, emotionally and materially, into the doomed relationship. Being a May-December couple has its restrictions, which soon separates them and Barry's mental status.

Blaine de Castillon(Frank Lanangella) has his desires set on her, and pounces at the first opportunity , to woo and wed his pretty prize.

He is an Ambassador,control freak, who wants his every wish fulfilled, with no questions asked. Well, you can see where this is going.

In between, we can see Tina's development, and the lack of it, as her fame increases, so does her shallowness, and naiveté'.

Cast on Jerry Springer like talk shows, she never finishes her thoughts, but seems to win every argument without trying.

Getting the Best of everything in life becomes standard fare, an expected way of life with no consequences.

The runtime is 100 minutes , except in Argentina, they get an extra 5.

So, if you feel that you have gotten the short straw in life, then you will really enjoy this film, watch for the Freud quote, it is memorable and historic. I gave this 2000 gem a 9.
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A bit boring and long
pavfec3 May 2002
I also thought that Stardom was interesting, before seeing it, that is. It starts off with some funny moments, but runs too long. You don't really get into the characters so you end up not caring what happens to them. The performances were good, but the whole movie was just all over the place. Definite rental only.
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Not your usual Denys Arcades
Raleon20 August 2003
This was the first Denys Arcandes movie I've seen, however I never realized it was his work when I first watched it. I've always heard such great stuff about his movies, I had to wonder why I never heard anything about this one. Now I know why. Most of his work is thoughful and leads others to think, as well as being very entertaining to watch through their standard type comedy which everyone can relate to and their (often) dramatic storylines. This movie was just a simple comedy with noting to it. The story wasn't up to his standard and all in all it was pretty boring.

So if you're interested in Denys Arcandes at all, then good. Watch Jesus of Montreal or the Decline of the American Empire, or his best so far- the Barbarian Invasions, but if you watch this one don't hold it against him.
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Very Very BAD
zoltar558 August 2001
I love Denys Arcand he made some very good movies.Love and Human Remains,The Decline of the America Empire and more but this is BAD.This is not a movie but a documentary and a bad one at that.There is no storie for over a 100 min. you follow a beautiful girl with big breasts and a nice smile going through some stupid situations.If you want to see what the life a supermodel really is rent GIA.Gia is a little dramatic but a least is true.I cannot beleive that a Canadian director made this trash.Too much hype around a movie that did not deserve this kind of attention.Stay away from this trash.If you want to be bore then rent it.
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Plumming the depths of shallowness and banality.
MartinHafer9 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This film is about the shallowness of celebrity life--in particular, that of a fictional super-model, Tina (Jessica Paré). When the film begins, she appears to be a bright and decent Canadian girl. However, after becoming a super-model, you notice throughout the course of the film that she's becoming more and more shallow as well as more and more selfish--and ultimately, a lady who is simply famous for being famous (not that there are any other celebrities like this these days!!). It's easy to see why, as those around her have only nanometers of depth. It's a world of sycophants and untalented jerks. Now this makes the film a bit of a hard sell. After all, being so incredibly shallow, I could easily see viewers turned off by the whole thing. Yes, it is an insightful parody--but being bathed in shallowness, some might have a very difficult time sticking with it to the end. I know as I sat watching, my wife completely tuned out after a while--as I sat and laughed as a few scenes here and there. But, even after a while, it did seem a tad too much--as it IS difficult to give a darn about anyone--which, actually, is the point! If the film had been a bit shorter, it might have played a bit better. The character featured in this parody is like a combination of the Kardashians, the Hiltons and Naomi Campbell--hard to ignore but way too overexposed.

Some things to look for in the film: the obligatory heroin use, Jerry Springer-like shows, Canadians frequently being referred to as 'American', some hilarious comments about the UN and a report about terrorists slashing the throats of over 400--which is interrupted because Tina is in the emergency room!! By the way in the film Tina doesn't speak or understand French--in reality, Jessica Paré is apparently fluent.
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Good Cinematography, Script, and Jessica Pare was great!
tarheelagn4 August 2002
I thought Stardom was a very good comedy/drama. Jessica Pare did an excellent job and she is very beautiful in this part. The movie depicted the problems that models face in the high profile modeling world. Good cinematograpy and script.
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Stunning performance by female lead
zridling27 July 2002
Jessica Pare is fantastic - she looks and plays the part perfectly, never overplaying it. I loved the show, especially since it zips along pretty quickly. It also has some amazingly funny moments thanks to the Blane character.
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decent scabrous comedy
Todd Mason11 February 2002
Much of this was very funny; if the basic arc of the story is familiar, it's meant to be. Pare proves that, aside from being absolutely gorgeous in the coltish way that she all but defines, that she has the ability to balance the cartoonish and the mimetic dimensions of an occasionally tricky role. Supporting cast impressive, as well.
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Brilliant - One of Arcands Best!
jolrei12 December 2001
This film for me, shows how far Canadian film has come. It is unfortunate that this film does not seem to have been noticed more outside Canada. Pare is adorable and goes through the movie looking like she's not quite sure what's happening to her, or whether she should be enjoying it. Dan Akyroyd is brilliant as an increasingly neurotic businessman who falls for her. The movie unfolds in a series of photoshoots, media clips, sound bites, and interviews. As in accounts of "real life" celebs, it feels like we know Pare's character intimately. Perhaps this supermodel is as real as the celebs we see on TV and in mags every day. Beautifully and appropriately filmed - looks exactly like Fashion TV.
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