Superstar (1999 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bruce McCulloch
Produced by Lorne Michaels
Written by Steve Koren
Music by Michael Gore
Cinematography Walt Lloyd
Edited by Malcolm Campbell
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • October 8, 1999 (1999-10-08)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $14 million[1]
Box office $30.6 million[1]

Superstar is a 1999 American comedy film and a Saturday Night Live spin-off about a quirky, socially inept girl named Mary Katherine Gallagher.[2] The character was created by SNL star Molly Shannon and appeared as a recurring character on SNL in numerous skits.[2] The story follows Mary Katherine trying to find her place in her Roman Catholic private school. The movie is directed by former Kids in the Hall member Bruce McCulloch. It stars Molly Shannon, Will Ferrell, Harland Williams, and Elaine Hendrix. SNL and Kids in the Hall alum Mark McKinney, who appeared in many of the Mary Katherine Gallagher SNL skits on TV, also has a minor role as a priest. Molly Shannon received a nomination for Blockbuster Entertainment Award "Favorite Actress - Comedy" but lost out to Heather Graham in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.


Mary Katherine Gallagher (Shannon) is an Irish-American Catholic school girl and social outcast in her high school. She wants to be a superstar so she can get a kiss from Sky Corrigan (Will Ferrell). When Mary is sent to Special Education because of hyperactivity, she makes a new best friend, the tomboyish and equally socially awkward Helen Lewengrub (Emmy Laybourne).

Mary sees her chance to become a superstar when her school promotes a talent show. She wants to try out, but Grandma Gallagher (Glynis Johns) will not let her. Mary tries out anyway; and, when she goes to sign up, a stereotypical cheerleader, Evian Carrie Graham (Elaine Hendrix), gets in a fight with her. The fight causes Evian and Sky to break up, and now Sky is a "single hunk of beefcake on the rebound". Mary is now determined to get in the talent show so Sky will notice her. When Grandma Gallagher finds out that Mary got into the talent show, she finally tells the truth about how her parents died—they were stomped to death while performing in a Riverdance-like competition, rather than being eaten by hammerhead sharks as her grandmother had told her. This is why Grandma Gallagher is against her performing.

However, Grandma Gallagher decides to help Mary do her act in the talent show, as long as she performs for herself. Mary and the other Special Education students spend days practicing. Mary wins the competition as well as Sky's heart. When she kisses Sky, she discovers he is a horrible kisser and chooses to kiss her friend Eric Slater (Harland Williams) instead.



Superstar received negative reviews from film critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 32% based on reviews from 74 critics, with the consensus: "Dumb script and flat jokes made this another SNL misfire."[3]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated the film one star out of four, writing: "Here is a portrait of a character so sad and hapless, so hard to like, so impossible to empathize with, that watching it feels like an act of unkindness." He furthermore described Shannons' character as "hostile" and "not very nice", stating that "She's one of those people who inspires in you the inexplicable desire to be hurtful and cruel".[4] James Berardinelli of ReelViews, who gave the film two out of four stars, said that "Molly Shannon is a likable, energetic performer" and some of the jokes were "actually funny", but there would still not be "enough here to justify a feature-length movie". He also felt the film's attempts "at developing Mary into something more than a two-dimensional caricature" were pointless since "the script doesn't show any respect for her".[5] Dennis Harvey of Variety magazine gave a positive review, calling the film a "pleasant surprise" as he expected only mediocrity from another Saturday Night Live adaptation. He said it is "amusing" but "uneven", suggesting it might build good word of mouth and do well but would be unlikely to reach the commercial success of Wayne's World.[6]


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