In the wake of IT'S PAT and A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, basing feature films on SNL sketch characters might not seem such a hot idea. Think again; Molly Shannon's klutzy Catholic schoolgirl's feature debut is a delightful surprise, a tightly written,
savvy slapstick comedy with genuine heart. Pity poor Mary Katherine Gallagher (Shannon); she an orphan who lives in the ugliest house in town, she expresses her feelings in TV-movie monologues and has a hopeless crush on Sky Corrigan (Will Ferrell), the most popular and unavailable boy in school.
She's also convinced (against all evidence) that she's a multi-talented superstar in the making. When her school stages a talent show whose first prize is a chance to be an extra in a Hollywood movie (''promoting wholesome family values"), the opportunity to claim her destiny and win a kiss from
Sky seem within reach. Various obstacles, including a grandmother (Glynis Johns) who mysteriously refuses to let her audition and Sky's beautiful but evil girlfriend Evian (Elaine Hendrix), stand in her way. But this is a classic ugly duckling fable and a downer ending would be unthinkable. Still,
even if we know what's going to happen, it's a blast watching Shannon get there. Unlike, say, Wayne and Garth, her Mary Katherine actually has an inner life; she's a weird combination of manic energy and raging insecurity, with an improbable quiet dignity and a barely repressed erotic streak
that's hilarious to behold. The usually creepy Ferrell is surprisingly good in the dual role of the nicer-than-you'd-expect Sky and God, who appears to Mary in a vision and marvels at her CD player ("We don't have those," He laments). Former Kid in the Hall Bruce McCulloch proves an able director,
and the opening credit sequence, to the strains of the Go-Gos' "Beautiful," is an almost-gorgeous piece of pop kitsch psychedelia.
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: In the wake of IT'S PAT and A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, basing feature films on SNL sketch characters might not seem such a hot idea. Think again; Molly Shannon's klutzy Catholic schoolgirl's feature debut is a delightful surprise, a tightly written, savvy sl… (more)