Review: ‘Danielle Steel’s Star’

The song "Follow Me" catapults singer Crystal Wyatt (Jennie Garth) to fame and fortune in "Danielle Steel's Star," but poor scripting, one-dimensional characters and under-direction make it hard to follow the plot. Good thing it's so predictable.

The song “Follow Me” catapults singer Crystal Wyatt (Jennie Garth) to fame and fortune in “Danielle Steel’s Star,” but poor scripting, one-dimensional characters and under-direction make it hard to follow the plot. Good thing it’s so predictable.

Crystal, a ’60s teenager and daddy’s girl, meets Vietnam war-hero/lawyer Spencer Hill (Craig Bierko) at her sister’s wedding on the family ranch. Though the two spend just hours together, it’s true love for both.

Only problem is Spencer goes to New York, where he takes up with the liberated Elizabeth (Terry Farrel). Despite the fact that they have nothing in common — she’s money-hungry and Wall Street bound, he’s an idealist who’s been working for Sen. Robert Kennedy — they wed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Crystal is raped and, when she seeks revenge with a shotgun, her little brother Jared (Jason Adelman) gets caught in the crossfire. Blamed for his death, she goes to San Francisco to pursue a career in singing. A few guardian angels and lucky breaks later, she is headlining at a club. She eventually makes it to Hollywood, thanks to her sleazy personal manager Ernie (Ted Wass), who wants to get really personal.

She and Spencer run into each other and seek each other out; she tells him goodbye several times, he keeps showing up. After one breakup, she calls him to tell him she’s been arrested for Ernie’s murder. He gets her off, she goes back to the ranch, she tell him goodbye again. (They are reunited at the end.)

Biggest problem is that none of the action or events make much sense. Why go to San Francisco for a showbiz career? Why does she go back to the ranch she’s been banished from? Why would Spencer marry the ultra-Establishment Elizabeth when what he really wants to do is spend two years in China helping earthquake victims?

The pic has a hectic pace, with most scenes (except the sex scenes) lasting about as long as a commercial. Torpid acting gives pic a schizophrenic feel. Only decent perf comes from Wass.

Under Michael Miller’s direction, no one seems quite sure what to do or why. Alex Nepomniaschy’s camerawork is OK, but production from exec producer Douglas S. Cramer and producer Elaine Rich looks low-budget. There are no costumes or details that suggest a particular era; putting glasses on Spencer seems to be the only concession to the passing of time.

If a time and place –“San Francisco, two years later”– didn’t occasionally appear on screen, one would be clueless as to the passage of 15 years.

Considering the fun one could have using showbiz and politics as backdrops, telepic is a real disappointment. However, some might find it a good alternative to Monday Night Football.

Danielle Steel's Star

(Mon. (20), 9-11 p.m. NBC)

Production

Filmed in L.A. by Schoolfield Prods. Exec producer, Douglas S. Cramer; producer, Elaine Rich; co-producer, Daniel Dugan; director, Michael Miller; script, Claire Labine.

Crew

Camera, Alex Nepomniaschy; editor, Janet Bartles-Vandagriff; production designer, James J. Agazzi; sound, Scott Webber; music, Lee Holdridge.

Cast

Cast: Jennie Garth, Craig Bierko, Terry Farrel, Penny Fuller, Mitchell Ryan, Jim Haynie, Roxanne Reese, Albert Hall, Bryan Smith, Patrick Massett, John McCann, Melendy Britt, Jane Daly, Ted Wass, Jordy Masterson, Jason Adelman, Elyse Dinh, Tony Ralph Wilson, Catherine Price, Devora Millman, Bibi Osterwald, James Gleason, Gregg Almquist, Mark La Mura.

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  1. Terrie DeGuire says:

    Guess everyone’s got an opinion. I sure didn’t agree with yours regarding this movie. Plus I take issues with several of the “problems” you pointed out with it. Crystal didn’t go to San Francisco to pursue a singing career. She left to get away from the ranch and San Francisco was as good a place as any. . The singing career was a “dream”…which just happened to come true. She went back to the ranch to see her mother again. Do any of us ever outgrow the longing to be loved by our mothers? Spencer married his wife out of a misplaced sense of duty. His character seems to be the kind of person who isn’t comfortable swimming against the tide. Fortunately…he learns not to care too much about what other people expect of him. Particularly people who don’t matter. It wasn’t at all difficult for me to follow the script…and compared to the majority of the movies I’ve seen the past couple of years….it was good entertainment. Most of them I’ve had to just turn off after the first 20 minutes they were so boring. Just sayin’. ;-)

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