Fame Whore

Jon Moritsugu, a punk filmmaker from the Bay Area, specializes in deliberately distasteful and self-consciously outlandish satires of materialist culture, yet his almost camp sensibility is humanized by a measure of empathy, even pathos. In this 1997 microbudget feature, the dysfunction du jour is lust for notoriety: a bratty tennis star is victimized by it, a vacuous trust-fund princess is consumed by it, and (in unconvincing counterpoint) a meek dog-pound clerk stays free from it. The production is crude, the dialogue clunky, the music gratingly rude, and the acting tongue-in-cheek, as if Moritsugu, a former semiotics student, had decoded and then reassembled the mise-en-scene of Ed Wood. Yet in the end the film gracefully conveys the fear of lonely insignificance.

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