By Amanda Pizzolatto (Rated G)
Jessica Olsen just wants to spend some time with her grandma when she and her family go to Hollywood to visit her, but her older sister Sara is a huge fan of Christopher Wilde, a rising star in the music industry, and wants to take the opportunity to meet him. Jessica has just about had it with Sara’s obsession with Christopher Wilde and only agrees to go with her to a nightclub where he’s supposed to show up so she would stay quiet about him for the rest of the trip. But, in a strange turn of events, Jessica is the one who meets Christopher, not Sara, as he’s trying to escape the paparazzi by a back door. He accidentally hits her, prompting him to take her to the hospital. Amid several car changes while on the run from the paparazzi, she gets to know the real Christopher Wilde and actually starts to fall in love with him. But as with all good things, it has to come to an end. Her vacation comes to a close, and a few people who want Christopher for a movie don’t want him with her. The paparazzi hound them both for answers, and Christopher decides to lie about it so he can get the movie deal, while Jessica tells them in a roundabout way that she does know the real Christopher Wilde and not the star they claim to admire. Christopher’s best friend brings him back to his senses and he sets about making everything right, even going so far as to admit to the paparazzi that he lied. It ends with them sharing a loving dance.
The leading couple are played by Disney Channel’s Sterling Knight and Danielle Campell, and they have pretty good on-screen chemistry. Even though the romance seems quite quick (as most movie romances are), there is an air of believability about it. Of course, having her not caring too much for him as a person because her sister is obsessed with him does provide one of the main obstacles for Christopher to overcome. And for a Disney movie, one might think it odd that they’re throwing so much shade on the paparazzi, but if anyone knows the ridiculousness of how far the paparazzi have gone before, they do, so this is well-earned, I think. Especially now that I’ve been on the internet a while and have seen some of the things that have been said and done about celebrities and paparazzi. Starstruck does show that there are celebrities who don’t want their privacy invaded, and others who want the cameras flashing at them 24/7. But if there is one thing to take away from all of this, it’s that to remind us that celebrities are human. They have their fears, their desires, and their dreams, and for those of us who take our privacy for granted, it’s a wake-up call that we really don’t need to know every little detail about a celebrity’s life. Sure, some of us want to celebrate some achievement with them, that they found the love of their life, or the welcoming of a new life to their family, but we don’t need to know much more than that. And if they don’t want to share those moments with us, we need to respect that too. They were hired to bring a character to the big screen, to move us with song, to play a game well, not to showcase their life story for us.I understand that many of us fans have a fantasy of being with a celebrity, being a celebrity, or just having the time to go on adventures of our own, but we should not ruin another person’s life or privacy because they have it and we don’t. Jessica shows us the ridiculousness of obsession and the paparazzi, but especially the stark difference between getting to make your own decisions and having your decisions made for you by everyone else. Sure, there are some things fans should have a say in concerning products, but products only. The celebrity’s life decisions and creative decisions should be theirs, and mostly theirs alone. I also like how the two sisters show how different love and obsession are. While Sara claims to love him amid all the glitz and glam she sees him in, even to the point of knowing his daily routine, Jessica is the one who actually gets to know the real Christopher and does fall in love. As such, she tells him what he needs to hear and brings him back down to Earth, with some help from his best friend.
Anyway, even though this is a Disney Channel movie, and Disney movies are known for their cheesiness, this one didn’t have as much of that and thus seemed more potent. There is also music involved, sung mostly by Sterling Knight. The music actually is pretty good, though that does seem to be typical Disney fare. It does bring in some good points about how we view and treat celebrities. Yes we look up to them because they are beautiful and wealthy, but at the end of the day, they’re still human like the rest of us. And like the rest of us, some can make some dumb decisions. But the point is to remember that they are human and they do have limitations like the rest of us. Also, obsession isn’t love, no matter how hard you want it to be. Love requires getting to know a person and accepting them, flaws and all. Following the glitter trail is not the same thing, at all.
If you do get the chance to watch Starstruck, I hope you’ll like it. But if cute, musical, Disney romances aren’t up your alley, then maybe not. But I do hope you’ll give it a chance just to see for sure. After all, you never know if you’ll like something, or someone, until you get to know them better.
Image from a poster for the movie, copyright by Disney