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Already Famous

A cheery hoot that pokes fun at showbiz pomposity even as it affirms its protag's impervious optimism.

Cast:
With: Michelle Chong, Alien Huang, Lok Meng Chua, Jalyn Han, James Lim, John Lee, Earnest Seah, Chua Enlai, Angie. (Mandarin, Hokkien, English, Bahasa Malaysia dialogue)

The road to stardom is paved with thorns, but the actress wannabe in “Already Famous” never lets that get her down. A cheery hoot that pokes fun at showbiz pomposity even as it affirms its protag’s impervious optimism, this helming debut by Singaporean thesp Michelle Chong reps a quirky but heartfelt version of “Malaysia’s Got Talent” that gains resonance for being distilled from firsthand experience. Though the pic boasts well-crafted dialogue and hysterically bitchy supporting roles, a surfeit of local celebrity cameos and Singaporean in-jokes could banish it to obscurity beyond its sleeper-hit domestic release and a few neighboring markets.

Malaysian village girl Zann (Chong) is hooked on TV soaps, but when she goes to Singapore to pursue an acting career, she’s treated like a bumpkin. Her dorky missteps supply standard sitcom material, but the script also acerbically skewers the Singaporeans’ bigotry. The pic finds its comic groove and heart when Zann enters a contest for “best extra.” The ending charms by delivering both wish fulfillment and reality check for the pic’s fetching protag. Tech credits resemble those of quality TV.

Already Famous

Singapore

Production: A Scorpio East Pictures, Cathay Keris Films release and presentation of a Huat Films production. Produced by Michelle Chong, Pauline Yu. Executive producers, Anita Hatta, Chong. Directed, written by Michelle Chong, based on her story.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Wong Meng Fye; editor, Jin Yan; music/music supervisor, Joshia Chia; art directors, Lim Keng Boon, Wong Chun Lim; costume designer, Yong Siew Lin. Reviewed at Udine Far East Film Festival, April 25, 2012. Running time: 113 MIN.

With: With: Michelle Chong, Alien Huang, Lok Meng Chua, Jalyn Han, James Lim, John Lee, Earnest Seah, Chua Enlai, Angie. (Mandarin, Hokkien, English, Bahasa Malaysia dialogue)

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