The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Film Reviews

By Jerry Renshaw, March 16, 2001, Screens

Superstarlet A.D.

D: John Michael McCarthy; with Starlet Kerine Elkins, Gina Velour, Alicja Trout, Kelly Ball, Jodi Brewer, Dagmar. (Video, 70 min.)

Women with lots of make-up and big hair, strutting around in their lingerie and toting machine guns. Got your attention, guys? In the post-cataclysm Femphis, warring tribes of blondes (Phaywrays), redheads (Tempests), and brunettes (Satanas) battle for supremacy. Men have been reduced to grunting "lowbrow" cavemen (some things never change), and there are no dresses because "all the gay men are dead." The Superstarlets, however, see all hair colors as being equal and seek to retrieve their past through the ancient stag films of their grandmothers. With generous nods to John Waters, Russ Meyer, and Herschell Gordon Lewis, McCarthy's film plays out among the junkyards, ruined buildings, and decrepit movie theatres of Memphis. His eye for shot compositions and lighting is often strikingly dead-on, but Superstarlet A.D. is dragged down by dodgy sound, stiff acting, overlong musical numbers, and a cluttered plot that's not helped by the choppy editing. Part sci-fi, part exploitation, part hipster hymn to Frederick's of Hollywood, this ambitious flick loses its way at times but still brings home a point about prejudice, feminism, and star-crossed lovers. Oh yeah, and underwear.

Copyright © 2022 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.