Hollywood Stargirl (2022) review: An unrealistic cliché

In Hollywood Stargirl, silver-voiced teenager, Susan “Stargirl” Caraway, moves from Mica to L.A. and becomes acquainted with two brothers, a cranky neighbour and a musician. It is a sequel to the 2020 film, Stargirl, and is currently streaming on Disney+.

Story

The film picks up during the summer before Stargirl’s senior year, when her costume designer mother, Ana, relocates them to Los Angeles.

A loner whose best pal is her pet rat Cinnamon, Stargirl is reluctant to make new friends — after all, it’s only a matter of time before her mom will be moving on again.

She has a conversation with her mother that she wants a more permanent place. Ana promises her the least she could get is a year in the same place.

With her mother, a Hollywood costume designer, busy at work, Stargirl is forced to find her own way in Los Angeles, both literally and metaphorically.

Scarcely a day passes in the new city before the flower child meets the wholesome Evan, an aspiring filmmaker who casts her as his co-star in a low-budget musical.

Not only does she make friends with her landlady’s sons, but she acquaints herself with her neighbour, who is a cranky old man, by bearing gifts for him. 

Everyone she meets in California ends up becoming a huge part of the next big thing in her life, which is the film they have been working on.

Stargirl meets her idol, a retired musician, who turns her down for using her music in their film. She asks her to make something of her own instead.

Since it’s a Disney movie, this rejection does not bring Stargirl down, it rather pushes her to move forward and eventually get a happy ending.

Performances

Grace VanderWaal, playing the role of Stargirl, does a poor job at portraying the dreamy girl who wants to explore everything and live life to the fullest. Her body language and facial expressions do not do justice to the character.

Though known for her comedic roles, Judy Greer plays the role of a single mother, struggling to make ends meet and does a terrific job at it, She uses her body language to wholly portray her helplessness most of the time.

Uma Thurman perfectly portrays the disillusioned retired musician, as she is introduced to Stargirl, changing her entire life.

Judy Greer and Uma Thurman provide solid support to VanderWaal’s role in order to not completely let the film fall apart.

Positives

The film skates on the surface of its characters, setting and themes, keeping it wholesome.

The sequel takes a positive turn towards the female lead’s character, whom the title of the film is named after.

The surprising character of Uma Thurman is refreshing, as per the plot of the Stargirl series.

Negatives

Hollywood Stargirl, with its prequel, seems like a shorthand for stock female characters conjured to make the male characters feel alive.

The dialogues are filled with cliches that a 12-year-old may find delightful.

Numerous breathy pop song performances leave little to no time for emotional and character development.

VanderWaal’s Jean Seberg-inspired hair and wardrobe are a bit over the top for an average teen.

For such a slow paced film, it is uncommon to give no complex storyline to ponder upon, making everything extremely predictable.

Verdict

Nothing that happens in Hollywood Stargirl is consequential or surprising. Given its cinematic aesthetics, it does not quite hang together as a complete story. The plot seems unrealistic and is full of cliches, yet it may be considered for a one-time watch for anyone but film enthusiasts.

Rating: 2.5/5


Also Read: Hollywood Stargirl (2022) summary and ending explained