Starstruck (1982)

Genres - Musical, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Rock Musical, Showbiz Comedy  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - Australia  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Many people think of Australian movies as being either serious dramas or post-apocalyptic action flicks like Mad Max. Starstruck is a delightful deviation from these preconceptions that pays tribute to the musical genre without sacrificing its uniquely Australian sensibilities. Stephen Maclean's novel script takes a premise that could have served as the basis for a Busby Berkeley musical and brings it into the present day by populating it with quirky characters who have modern attitudes and motivations. For instance, the heroine Jackie is a charming and likeable starlet but is also cynical enough to know that dreams of stardom often require stepping on some toes, thus creating a "will she or won't she?" tension that enhances the plot. Director Gillian Armstrong gives the film the fizzy energy and pop gloss it requires to take flight, aided immensely by Russell Boyd's neon-gloss cinematography and a song score with several eccentric yet catchy Phil Judd songs, but Armstrong never loses sight of the unique, likeable characters that drive her story. She achieves this goal by getting witty yet subtle performances from everyone involved, especially Jo Kennedy as the offbeat but very alluring heroine and Ross O'Donovan as her perpetually scheming would-be teenage Svengali. In short, Starstruck is a grand blast of new wave fun, and you don't even have to be into Australian films to enjoy it.