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“StarStruck” is geared toward the same audience that goes for “Hannah Montana,” “iCarly,” “Sonny with a Chance” and other sitcoms aimed at tweens and their younger siblings, so I didn’t expect there’d be much here besides formula pap. To an extent, that’s true. But the formula, surprisingly, is the adult romantic comedy.
Sara is obsessed with pop star Christopher Wilde (Sterling Knight, Sonny with a Chance) and hopes to track him down while in California, but Jessica could care less about the stuck-up star and would rather go sightseeing. When the sisters arrive in L.A. Sara takes Jessica on a hunt to find Christopher and a chance meeting with the star sets off a series of comic adventures that feature many of L.A.’s landmark locations. As the sisters sightsee and spend time together, Jessica gets to know the real Christopher and soon their friendship grows. Ultimately Christopher must decide what is more important — being himself or becoming a movie star. Disney Channel stars Brandon Mychal Smith (Sonny With a Chance) and Chelsea Staub (JONAS) also star as Christopher’s loyal best friend and fame- hungry girlfriend, respectively.
Knight plays the same kind of slightly conceited, spoiled rich kid he does on “Sonny with a Chance,” and here manages to make the transition to likable–not an easy feat when you have a face and a past screen history of being the smarmy guy. New to Disney is Campbell, who previously appeared in four episodes of “Prison Break.” She hits the antagonism and resentment button a little too hard and a little too often, but the overall effect is one that the target audience will buy. Parents who watch this with their kids will find it more enjoyable than they expected, and for that we probably have to thank writers Barbara Johns and Annie DeYoung (“Princess Protection Program”), who keep the over-the-top characters and scenes to a minimum. And veteran TV director Michael Grossman (“Dirty Sexy Money,” “Zoey 101,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) keeps things moving, honing in on the developing relationship and leaving everything else out.
Still, for a made-for-TV movie, “StarStruck” is more enjoyable than most, and the adult romantic comedy formula transposed onto a ‘tween template makes it more palatable for parents to watch with their children.
It has a similar charm to other previous Disney original films, fun in terms of storyline with the quirky situations (and of course, some situations are a bit farfetched) but I was entertained. Sterling Knight is definitely showing his versatility as an actor and also as a vocalist. I didn’t know he could sing but he did a solid job and definitely an up-and-coming Disney star who definitely has the potential to becoming a much bigger star.
If anything, the film is a fun teen and children’s film and parents looking for a safe, music-driven Disney film will definitely find “StarStruck – The Extended Edition” to be a solid release with the DVD movie and the music soundtrack included. Granted, for parents wanting to know if it’s “really safe”, well, you don’t want your daughters walking through Hollywood especially alone at an alley late at night (which is how the two main characters meet) but despite that one scene (well, there is one other scene in which the two drive a car into quicksand but I doubt any teenagers will have to worry about that), the film is quite safe and really, there is nothing to worry about in terms of content.
The ‘out of this world’ bonuses featured on the StarStruck: Extended Edition DVD include:
• Extended version of the movie – only available on DVD
• More Music with eight Rock-Along tracks to sing-along with!
• Three Hot Music Videos