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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet
True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet
Starz / Anchor Bay // Unrated // March 3, 2009
List Price: $19.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 23, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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Not long before the 2009 release of "Hannah Montana: The Movie", there was a Lifetime movie called, "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet.". While "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet" doesn't have the lead character balancing her celebrity life and her normal life in the same fashion as "Hannah Montana", it certainly takes from the idea of a celebrity being able to "disappear" and find their true self once rid of a fake blonde wig and fancy designer clothes.

Of course the celebrity in question isn't a sweet pop star sensation with a squeaky clean image, it's a starlet who can't control her drinking or her attitude. Oddly enough, star Jojo was one of the original choices for the role of "Hannah Montana", which she turned down. Yet, she's found herself in a Lifetime movie that seems to be trying to capitalize on the whole "Hannah Montana" popularity.

Morgan Carter (JoJo, "Aquamarine" and "RV") has a drinking problem that gets out of hand when she takes her drinking too far at the premiere of her upcoming film. She's shipped off to rehab again, but her inattentive mother, Bianca (Lynda Boyd) and her manager Sam (Justin Louis) decide the only way for her get clean enough for any directors or producers to take her seriously is by moving to live with her Aunt Trudy (Valerie Bertinelli, "Touched by an Angel") in Indiana. At first, Morgan is mortified by the idea of living in Indiana with her kind-hearted Aunt, who waters plants for a living, despite having had aspirations to become a doctor in her youth. But once Morgan settles into the idea of taking on the role of her fake identity, Claudia Miller, she realizes she and Trudy have more in common than she could have ever thought. Besides trying to find balance at home with Trudy, Morgan/Claudia must also complete her senior year at a public high school -- something she's only ever done in film.

Morgan/Claudia doesn't have an easy time making friends and is instantly singled out by the popular girls. The only experience Morgan ever calls upon is from her roles, which she often uses to get herself in and out of trouble. Morgan's narrative throughout the film guides us through her thought process, including a scene in the lunchroom where she's looking for somewhere to sit and someone to take pity on her. The narrative is reminiscent of Lindsay Lohan's character in "Mean Girls", though the writing fails to be anywhere near as witty. In fact, JoJo reminds me a lot of Lohan from "Mean Girls". Thankfully for JoJo she has an ease about her and charm that makes her likeable despite some moments of over doing it in the scenes that call for her to behave like a spoiled, media frenzying celebrity. Her moments with Bertinelli and Ian Nelson (who plays Eli, the down-to-earth guy she ends up falling for) aren't memorable, but at least are moderately sincere.

The question becomes, can Morgan give up her past? She's faced with several situations that test her, including when her friend from Hollywood, Marissa (Shenae Grimes, "90210") comes to visit. There's also the fact that Hollywood seems to be moving on without her. It's only when she receives bad news from home that she reaches for the bottle. However, once out with her famous friend who's drinking and dancing on a bar, does she realize that it's not so much fun once you see it through sober eyes. At 87 minutes, "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet" never threatens to become memorable, but it never totally wears out its welcome, either - it comfortably glides through the predictable tale of a spoiled celeb who finds that a normal life ain't so bad.

Video/Audio: Anchor Bay presents the film in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation isn't anything to write home about, with average sharpness and detail. A few slight instances of edge enhancement appear, but the picture otherwise looks mostly clean. Colors are bright and vibrant, but looked a touch smeary in a few scenes. The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation was entirely a "comedy mix", with only a couple of slight instances of surround use for music reinforcement. Audio quality was fine, with clean, well-recorded dialogue.

The only extra is a trailer.

Final Thoughts: At 87 minutes, "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet" never threatens to become memorable, but it never totally wears out its welcome, either - it comfortably glides through the predictable tale of a spoiled celeb who finds that a normal life ain't so bad. Might be worth a rental for tweens who have already seen "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and are still looking for something similar.
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