Star Stories: Complete Season 2 (UK - DVD R2)
Reveiwer Marcus Doidge thinks he's seen all of these Star Stories before...
Star Stories is a weekly show that sets out to take a satirical look at some of the world's celebrities. In this, the second series of four episodes (four—does that really constitute a whole series?) Star Stories take a pop at Take That, Tom Cruise, Simon Cowell and Britney Spears.
The idea of reviewing comedy is quite a daunting one, mainly because someone’s Blazing Saddles is somebody else’s Meet the Spartans and what people find funny really comes down to personal preference. With this in mind, fans of the show will have to forgive me when I say that I outright disliked Star Stories. I’d never watched the show before I got his DVD, but I already had a pretty secure impression of it from TV ads and clip shows. In its defence, I’ve never been the biggest fan of the ‘spoof’, which already sets this up as something that would have to be really genius to win me over and unfortunately Star Stories falls plenty short of genius.
Everything on offer here has been done thousands of times before and mostly better as well. Off the top of my head, things like Matt Lucas and David Walliams's Rock Profiles managed to do a far more effective comedy take on the Take That story and I’d go as far as to say every single comedy sketch on Tom Cruise I’ve seen to date (and I’ve seen a lot) have been far better than what was on offer here.
I just found Star Stories to be a bit of a mess. They may have done their homework on their subjects—well, that is if homework is taking events in these well known celebrities’ histories that everybody always knows inside and out and adding a Star Stories spin to it—but unfortunately that’s all that seems to be on offer here. The Star Stories spin doesn’t even seem to be that thought out, just relying on being as broad and obvious as they can, playing with gags or impressions that everyone has heard and seen before and failing to make it feel fresh. I mean, do we really need to see the fiftieth gag about how Tom Cruise is mental, or how Simon Cowell wears high waisted trousers, or how Britney is trailer trash? Ok, maybe we do, but not in this recycled fashion.
That said, I’m not completely dead to the comedy on offer here. I’ll admit there are some fantastically effective uses of the F-Bomb that bought about a giggle or two and even some of the most flimsy of jokes sometimes brought about a grin, but in general Star Stories just left me a little zoned out. Maybe it’s more effective within its TV slot and spread over its four weeks series as opposed to watching it over a couple of nights or maybe it’s simply not for me.
Exactly what you’d expect from a low budget Channel Four TV show. This is as bog standard as a TV transfer gets, with it soft image, lack of any real detail and simply fulfilling its needs on DVD.
Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, once again this release does exactly what it needs to do for a TV show released on DVD. The dialogue is clear, the music fits in snugly behind it and all in all it does nothing to call attention to itself for good or bad reasons.
Each of the episodes comes with a little behind the scenes featurette ranging between six to eight minutes in length. These are all just on set stuff, showing us the set ups and talking to some of the cast and crew. It rarely goes into too much detail and in all honesty just feels like a bit of filler.
The only other extras on offer are the deleted scenes (12:45), which must have been deleted for time constraints because there's certainly no difference in the quality of the comedy.
Star Stories is a prime example of the sort of British Comedy that I’ve never really got into. It’s not that it’s not funny (it can be in small doses), but for this reviewer, this is all a little too obvious and repetitive to be considered a recommendation and for anyone who's not already a fan of the show or its talent, you may want to check it out before committing to a blind buy.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 17th November 2008
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo English
Extras: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Easter Egg: No
Director: Elliot Hegarty
Cast: Kevin Bishop, Rhys Thoma,Daisy Beaumont, Steve Edge
Length: 120 minutes
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