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