Starstruck, directed by Michael Grossman, premiered when I was a sophomore in high school, so it was nice back then to see protagonists who were a bit older. Sara and Jessica Olson are teenagers going on spring break with their family, to visit their grandma in Hollywood! They live in an unspecified town in Michigan, but it must be unseasonably warm since Jessica (Danielle Campbell) is wearing a tank top with the door wide open. I never noticed it before until this rewatch…maybe because I live in Michigan and am patiently waiting for “spring.”
Jessica is not impressed by celebrity, but Sara is obsessed with a pop star named Christopher Wilde, portrayed by Sterling Knight, who was on Sonny with a Chance at the time. His best friend Stubby is played by Brandon Mychal Smith, also a Sonny star. And Chelsea Staub/Kane (one of my favorites) is Christopher’s girlfriend, Alexis Bender. As soon as the Olson family gets to Los Angeles, Sara is determined to meet Christopher Wilde, so she drags Jessica out to a club. Jessica waits in the car but becomes impatient, walks around to the stage door, and is met by Christopher, who hits Jessica when he opens the door. A head injury begins the romantic adventure between Christopher and Jessica.
As you might expect, Jessica begins to soften to Christopher, who is way cooler than she thought he was. The pop star also falls for Jessica, but he is distracted by his fame and the demands of his manager parents. After that first night, Sara and Jessica go to Malibu the next morning so Jessica can catch Christopher surfing. But again, Christopher and Jessica wind up together, and they spend the day traipsing all over LA. It’s interesting to think about what it must have been like to be a celebrity in 2010. The paparazzi were in full force, but social media certainly wasn’t as evolved as it is now. I believe stars were a little less accessible to the public back then. And yet, Christopher is very worried about maintaining some semblance of privacy in his personal life.
As a result, he takes some bad advice from one of his employers and disses Jessica in order to keep a movie deal. Back home in Michigan, Jessica turns on the television and watches Christopher completely deny knowing her. As a side note, the reporter on the pop music channel reminds me of similar scenes in Stuck in the Suburbs, so it’s fun to think of a little MTV-style Disney Channel canon in these movies.
Anyway, we have to resolve this: Reporters come to the Olsons’ home in Michigan, where Jessica denounces Christopher and says that the person on TV is not someone she knows. Facts. Naturally, Christopher feels like a jerk and travels to Michigan to make amends. He appears to Jessica at the school dance, sings to her, makes a big speech, and she accepts his apology. They almost kiss but are interrupted by sister Sara, who finally gets to meet her teen idol. So, no kiss.
I would definitely recommend this movie. I love the California scenery, the grandma is so sweet, the love story is cute, and the music by David Lawrence is fun and energetic as it moves the plot along. This takes me back to sophomore year in the best way.