Stardom

If Denys Arcand's satire of the paper-doll world of supermodels doesn't really have anything new to say, it's probably because there was never all that much to say about the subject in the first place. The film itself is slick, entertaining and breathlessly paced, and Arcand manages to sustain an intriguing conceit throughout: It's constructed entirely...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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If Denys Arcand's satire of the paper-doll world of supermodels doesn't really have anything new to say, it's probably because there was never all that much to say about the subject in the first place. The film itself is slick, entertaining and breathlessly paced,

and Arcand manages to sustain an intriguing conceit throughout: It's constructed entirely of mock interviews, news stories, tacky talk shows, fashion channel extras and bits from a documentary chronicling the quick rise and spectacular fall of one Tina Menzhal (Jessica Pare). A stick-thin beauty

from Ontario, Tina goes from collegiate ice-hockey player to highly sought-after model nearly overnight. But it's a Cinderella story with a bitter edge. As her star rises, Tina finds herself exploited by the industry and used and abused by a succession of older men: From the photographer who

"discovers" her (Charles Berling) to the Montreal restaurateur who worships her (Dan Aykroyd) and the UN ambassador who eventually marries her (Frank Langella). Everyone has something to say on her behalf, except, of course, Tina herself, who's only expected to stand there and look pretty. The

main problem with tales of supermodel woe is that it's hard to work up much sympathy for the trials of supremely beautiful people (the film looks for the irony in Freud's dictum "anatomy is destiny"), and Arcand's infotainment pastiche doesn't exactly facilitate character development. For all the

film's cleverness — and it's often very clever — it's as thin as its heroine. And that's not necessarily a bad thing: As one character points out with stunning logic, a little superficiality never hurt anyone. "Calvin Klein may be shallow, but he never bombed Cambodia." You can't

argue with that.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: If Denys Arcand's satire of the paper-doll world of supermodels doesn't really have anything new to say, it's probably because there was never all that much to say about the subject in the first place. The film itself is slick, entertaining and breathlessl… (more)

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