on October 08, 1999 by Christine James
   On the "Saturday Night Live" sketch-to-movie scale, on which "Wayne's World" is a 10, "A Night at the Roxbury" is a 3 and "It's Pat" is an unequivocal 1, "Superstar" is at least twice as funny as "The Coneheads," ensconcing it securely in the higher middle of producer Lorne Michaels' cinematic oeuvre. The comedy tells the story of Mary Katherine Gallagher ("Never Been Kissed's" Molly Shannon), an intensely geeky Irish Catholic schoolgirl who dreams of fame--and romance. The object of her affection is Sky Corrigan (Will Ferrell), the most popular boy in school. To woo him away from witchy head cheerleader Evian (Elaine Hendrix), Mary Katherine strives to impress him by winning the school talent show-an outcome that seems unlikely given her spasmodic comportment. But underneath the horn-rimmed glasses, too-short kilt and sensible white underwear beats the heart of a true diva.
   Mary Katherine's idiosyncrasies, such as her pratfalls, nervous ticks, weird stances and her tendency to reenact, with surprising talent, monologues from TV movies to express herself, are amusing; aware that these traits might grow wearisome for SNL fans already familiar with the character, Shannon and the filmmakers wisely rein in these elements and introduce new facets to pop culture's Ritilin poster child. Inspiring a rooting spirit a la "Revenge of the Nerds," Mary Katherine and her Special Ed friends shake up the status quo while tapping into the level of adolescent angst that could compel a young teen to practice her French kissing technique on a tree. Starring Molly Shannon, Will Ferrell and Elaine Hendrix. Directed by Bruce McCulloch. Written by Steven Wayne Koren. Produced by Lorne Michaels. A Paramount release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor and language. Running time: 83 min
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