Starstruck (1982)

Wandering into this film was a complete chance–a while back I began to seek films starring my favourite actor, Sam Neill. One such film was My Brilliant Career. The Region 1 release was produced by Blue Underground, whose titles all went on sale late last year, and said sale included a two pack with that film and this one, both directed by Gillian Armstrong, for the same price. I figured it wouldn’t hurt and got both. I still haven’t watched the one I bought the set for, but I have now seen this one. I had no clue what this movie was–at all. I discovered it was a musical relatively quickly, and unsurprisingly also an Australian film.

Jackie Mullens (Jo Kennedy) is an aspiring singer, her younger cousin Angus (Ross O’Donovan) is her manager and songwriter. The two get into a local club for an open mic night and Jackie “blows the roof off” (as Angus says), spending the night with guitarist Robbie (Ned Lander). They are both chastised by Jackie’s mum, who does not particularly believe in the dreams of her offspring and nephew, and so we see that the conflict of the movie is Jackie being put in a position to participate in Top of the Pops-style tv show of host Terry (John O’May), thereby making their way to a stage competition for $25,000 to (of course!) save the family pub in which they all live. Scheming humour and Aussie accents pave the way between energetic new wave numbers that are terribly, terribly catchy (I’ve been singing them for days following, and do wish the soundtrack were out on CD, though I may pick up the LP one day).

The characters are all likable–there isn’t really even a villain of sorts, and it is just an absolutely infectiously joyous film, with a fun, upbeat soundtrack, a very positive feeling and amusing sense of humour. While there’s some wobbliness to the young performances of Ross at least (and to a lesser extent Ned and occasionally Jo), it is done with such tremendous fun that it absolutely does not matter. The choreography and staging of the songs is fantastic and fun, with some feeling of both guerilla amateur and a clever, knowledgeable variety. What more to say of a comedy musical? I’m not sure. It’s absolutely worth seeing and damn good fun, and my–quirky–kind of musical.

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