SNL's Shannon becomes movie 'Superstar'
By CASEY McCLUSKEY
Scene Movie Critic
Saturday Night Live has a history of exposing young comics to the world and giving many the break they need to make it in Hollywood. SNL's newest prodigy is Cleveland native Molly Shannon. The movie "Superstar" is based on Shannon's character Mary Katherine Gallagher, whom Shannon introduced to the world on SNL a few seasons ago.
Mary Katherine is an Irish Catholic school girl who dreams of receiving her first big "big screen" kiss that she has witnessed so many times in all of the movies she watches. When prayer does not seem to work to get this first kiss, Mary Katherine decides it is time to take things into her own hands. To get that first Hollywood-style kiss, Mary Katherine believes she must get a little Hollywood style of her own and become a superstar.
Mary Katherine learns how to be a superstar by watching every movie she rewinds in her after-school job as the rewind-girl at the local video rental store. She often believes that she can best express herself through monologues from her favorite made-for-TV movies, and breaks out into these dramatic monologues, which are hilarious because they really don't have anything to do with anything. After studying these movies, Mary Katharine practices the art of kissing on anything that will stand still, in particular trees and traffic posts.
Mary Katherine's first `big break' comes when she learns that Catholic Teen Magazine is holding a talent contest and the winner gets to go to Hollywood and have a chance at appearing in a movie that has fine, upstanding role models. Surely if Mary Katherine can win this contest and fulfill her superstar dream, the boys will be lining up to kiss her — particularly Sky Corrigan, played by Will Ferrel. Sky Corrigan is the best dancer at St. Monica's, the captain of the football team and the epitome of Mary Katherine's leading man. She is sure that Sky will be able to fulfill her every dream if she can only convince him of her superstardom.
The transition of Mary Katherine from small screen to big screen is pretty fluid. It does not fall into the same trap that many SNL characters who have made their own movies have in the past. This movie does include some of the same jokes from SNL, such as Mary Katherine's nervous habit of smelling her armpits and falling into everything around her, because that is how people have come to know and love her. But it does not go over the top though with these gags, and adds new things to laugh at.
One great aspect of the film is that none of the other characters are from the SNL skit that the movie is based on. The new characters are a fresh look at some of the stereotypes that exist in high schools today. For example, "Superstar" does not have the stereotypical burnout, but rather a kid who just pretends that he is high all the time because he is too scared to actually do drugs.
The film is a great farce of Catholic schools, and any Notre Dame or Saint Mary's student can surely appreciate many of these inside jokes. Some of the funniest scenes come in the confessionals and the after-school activities that could only take place in a Catholic school.
This is the perfect time to go see this film, too. The movie is only an 90 minutes, and is a great study break during midterms. It takes very little brain power to watch the film (although keep an eye on the all of the cars in the background of the movie — something strange is going on there), and the film's humor will relieve stress. It is also great for fall break, because of the broad audience appeal the movie has.
"Superstar" is a movie that you can go see with your family when you are home. You can go see it on a date or with a bunch of friends from high school. It has something for everyone.
And though "Superstar" is not on the same level as SNL's most successful adaptation, "Wayne's World," it is definitely a success for Saturday Night Live.
3 1/2 shamrocks out of 5
All Scene Stories for Thursday, October 14, 1999