Everybody's Famous!

"OK"

Everybody's Famous! Review


Social satires are tricky vehicles because you need the correct edge to convey its message. In director-writer Deruddere's well-intentioned but misguided satire Everybody's Famous!, there's a routine angle about the Everyman trying to buck the conventions of an otherwise lackluster existence. The problem is that Deruddere (Love Is a Dog From Hell) tries to tackle too many frantic points in a hokey comedy that's so perfunctory and meandering. This Belgian product scored an Academy Award nomination in last year's Best Foreign Film category. With that being said, someone must have mistaken this unfocused farce for that of a frothy, insightful comedy. Stagey and recklessly excitable for its own good, Everybody's Famous! reaches for routine laughs in an all-too-familiar venue of ordinary folks trying to do too many things in the name of well-meaning desperation.

The story features a flustered father named Jean Vereecken (Josse De Pauw) who has a crazy vision of grandeur when he contemplates the notion of turning his talent-challenged, plump daughter Marva (Eva van der Gucht) into a glorified, moneymaking pop star. The poor gal is so earnest in her attempt to please her weary middle-aged father that she subjects herself to constant humiliation. This includes entering karaoke contests in which laryngitis-inflicted patients have a better chance at winning than the put-upon diva wannabe. But despite the obvious void in Marva's singing ability, Jean still stubbornly pens songs for his little gal to vocalize, with uneven results.

Soon desperate times call for desperate measures when Jean loses his factory job. Unfortunately for Marva, this means even more pressure. Through freakish means, Jean happens to cross paths with a celebrated youthful singing sensation named Debbie (Thekla Reuten), apparently Belgium's answer to Britney Spears and Mandy Moore. Sensing the opportunity to light a fire of controversy and call some much-needed shots in his favor, Jean's kidnaps the nation's beloved songbird in a futile attempt to elevate his daughter's status while making an antihero out of himself. And thus, the press reacts to Debbie's kidnapping by turning this whole ill-advised episode into a sensational media circus.

Everybody's Famous! starts out as a triumphant commentary on what it takes to achieve celebrity and the wealth it promises. But as the film progresses, it becomes wildly tedious and wacky. What begins as an off-handed comical look at a delusional character with lofty dreams turns into a farfetched, directionless comedy caper. The film overextends itself by welcoming the mindless, chaotic nonsense that ensues. Clichéd scenes involving ransom demands feel utterly tired.

As the beleaguered father looking for some recognition and financial stability, De Pauw is quite effective. Van der Gucht's Marva is sympathetic enough to root for, given that the need to succeed feeds into her indelible psyche more than it does her determined father. Still, using the hefty Marva as the easy target for ridicule in a cold-hearted world of superficial star-making feels typical and rudimentary.

Aka Iedereen beroemd!

But some are less famous than others.



Everybody's Famous!

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 12th April 2000

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 28 Rotten: 24

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Jean Vereecken, as Marva Vereecken, as Willy Van Outreve, as Debbie, as Michael Jensen, Gert Portael as Chantal Vereecken, Ianka Fleerackers as Gaby, Alice Reys as Lizzy, George Arrendell as Knappe man, François Beukelaers as NTO directeur, Silvia Claes as Omroepster, Marc Didden as Cameraman, Sien Eggers as Debbies buurvrouw, Lut Hannes as Vriendin van Marva's moeder, Wim Opbrouck as Rik De Visser, as Rijkswachter, Mathias Sercu as Jim Poppe, Myriam Thys as Nieuwslezeres, Bert Van Nieuwenhuyse as Nieuwslezer

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