Saturday, January 25, 2014

True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet (2008-TV) [UR] ****

Seventeen year old Morgan Carter (Joanna "JoJo" Levesque) is a spoiled, blonde Hollywood starlet whose club-hopping and hard partying have taken their toll. Collapsing outside a Hollywood nightclub, Morgan ends up in rehab; after she's released, her mother Bianca (Lynda Boyd) and her manager Sam (Justin Louis) send her to live with her Aunt Trudy (Valerie Bertinelli) in small-town Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Morgan enrolls in a suburban high school, and to avoid the paparazzi and be accepted as a normal teen, she takes the name Claudia Miller and goes back to being a brunette. Rebellious at first, Morgan has trouble adjusting to public high school, but then she falls for Eli Walsh (Ian Nelson) the handsome teen neighbor who's in her Film Studies class and offers to tutor her in geometry. Morgan's life seems to be improving until another starlet arrives and whisks her off to Chicago where she's spotted in a club; and then a classmate with a crush on Eli threatens to expose her. Finally Morgan must decide whether she wants the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, or the normal Midwestern life of a high school senior, with the boy she loves.

Written by Elisa Bell (Little Black Book) and based on Lola Douglas' young-adult book of the same name, this is an entertaining film, although lightweight and predictable. In depicting Hollywood's cruel, shallow world, the film uses humor to give us a kinder, gentler look at the film industry. JoJo Levesque and Valerie Bertinelli are completely convincing as Morgan and Trudy, and the heartfelt scenes and believable dialogue between the two are the best, most original aspects of the film, saving it from what might otherwise be just another made-for-TV Lifetime comedy/drama with the predictable message that the Midwest heartland is real, while Hollywood is a fantasy. If you enjoy female-centered, teenage, coming-of-age films like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, you might really enjoy True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet. 

Labels: comedy, drama, family, filmmaking, teenager

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 66/100
Tomatometer (critics=NA, viewers=55)
Interview with Joanna "JoJo" Levesque

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