'True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet'

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A pithy but entirely lightweight original movie, Lifetime's "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet" entertains nonstop and even tosses out a few truths about its subject matter.

Although the title suggests something almost pulp-like, this little cream puff of a film, which follows the misadventures of a teen superstar, is fit for any teenage viewer.

Recording artist/actress Joanna "JoJo" Levesque stars as Morgan Carter, a Britney Spears-Lindsay Lohan knockoff who finally takes one drink too many, ends up in rehab and is sent to her mom's good friend in Fort Wayne, Ind., to cool down and act like a normal teen (whatever that is).

It's one scary moment after another as our heroine tries to make it in the "average" world of teendom. So about halfway through this smart-talking and savvy movie, we almost start to wonder what's worse: the fake Hollywood thing or the "typical" world of Midwest America? It's a tossup.

Levesque is completely believable as Morgan. Right behind her, as the newly acquired Midwest aunt-mom, Valerie Bertinelli delivers a solid performance and even gets some good lines in Elisa Bell's knowing and smartly written script.

"Confessions" constantly walks the line between predictable (which eventually wins out) and original (stemming from some delectable repartee between Levesque and Bertinelli). The script knows its Hollywood and its reality television, both of which are major stars in this movie. They represent the reprehensible world our heroine hails from, but neither is treated as shabbily as they might have been. Humorous pokes and jabs take the edge off of what could have been a much more cutthroat view of the shallow landscape of Los Angeles.

Based on the novel by Lola Douglas, the movie's sense of humor saves the day at almost every turn. The writers also know when to turn off the sentimental stuff that we usually see in this kind of "learn your lesson" TV yarn and wish we could escape from. Director Tim Matheson also has a sense of humor throughout the story, yet he knows how to get his actors to play it real when the time comes.

So we forgive the script for ultimately delivering a told-you- so ending to what is otherwise a little gem of a movie. We're not exactly hammered over the head with suggestions that the Midwest rules and Hollywood sort of sucks, but it's pretty close. Just look for the funny dialogue and ignore everything else.
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