Stella Street

Stella Street is awful. This falls directly into the vein of one of those Saturday Night Live movies that comes out and flops big time. Stella Street is based on a British sketch comedy show starring Phil Cornwell and John Sessions. This could work in a skit format, where the entire thing lasts ten minutes. However, when stretched out to eighty-two minutes, Stella Street is pure torture. The joke is funny for a few minutes, amusing for a while, but this is just too much. This should not be a slam on Cornwell or Sessions, who can do some pretty good impressions, but they should stick with what they know best; sketch comedy.

The impressions run the gamut from great to horrible. Cornwell (Large, Blood) does a fantastic Michael Caine, a so-so Jack Nicholson, and an awful Mick Jagger. Sessions (Gangs of New York, High Heels and Low Lifes) does a great Al Pacino, a mediocre Joe Pesci, and a horrendous Keith Richards. Joining them is Ronni Ancona for a bunch of female impressions. David Bowie, Madonna, Posh Spice, the Beatles, and some other random people move across the screen, some easier to identify than other, and some identifiable only because the closing credits says so (Penelope Cruz? When?). Part of the joke is that Sessions and Cornwell do not look that much like their subjects - it is funny that they look so unlike them. One also gets the feeling that many of the jokes do not make much sense in America.

However, again the joke goes on too long. Trying to put a story around things makes it even worse. Cornwell and Sessions wrote the screenplay with Peter Richardson (The Pope Must Die, Eat the Rich), who directed. The premise is that Caine returns to the suburban Stella Street, prompting Nicholson, Pacino, then Pesci to move in. Soon, the street is awash with celebrities, who want to party all the time. A lame story begins to emerge, but by this time, anybody watching will have lost all interest in what is going on.

Richardson, Cornwell and Sessions do an impressive job of logistics. Sessions and Cornwell play nearly all the characters. Combine them with Ancona, and that's three people covering over twenty speaking parts. This is a nightmare when all of them converge on a scene. It requires doubles, wigs, and a multitude of camera angles and takes just to make sure that the proper people are in frame at the right times. Wow, it's a lot of work, all done for naught.

Mongoose Rates It: Really Bad.
1 hour, 22 minutes, Not Rated but contains language, an easy R.

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