Straight outta Belgium, the showbiz satire "Everybody's Famous" was one of the four 2000 Best Foreign Film nominees that didn't stand a chance against "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," but its belated theatrical release proves that it made respectable competition.The often clever plot deals with an unemployed factory worker and amateur songwriter (Josse De Pauw) who, in a desperate attempt to boost his singer manque of a daughter (Eva van der Gucht) to stardom, kidnaps popular blue-haired chanteuse Debbie (Thekla Reuten). But matters begin getting out of hand when Debbie's sleazy manager discovers that all the media hoopla is good for business.
It's a good start for what promises to be a wicked satire on human vanity, which is what Everybody's Famous seems to be angling toward during its first half. Alas, Director Dominique Deruddere keeps succumbing to sentimentality, even introducing "uplifting" music during the heart-tugging moments; and the rather sweet ending, though sure to leave audiences grinning as they head for the exits, seems a bit of a letdown. One suspects they called in the Alpine script doctors to file away some of the rough edges in the screenplay. The movie sometimes generates real wit, but it's the kind that leaves wry smiles, not belly laughs. And European humor doesn't always travel that well: One scene features a talent contest participant in blackface singing an Otis Redding song. Oh, dear.
The film is solidly made and on a technical level certainly up to the standards of a mid-budget Hollywood production. Acting is also above-par, without a miscast thespian in the bunch; Victor Löw is particularly noteworthy as the scummy manager, exuding oily charm all over the place.It's a likable movie; you wish they hadn't pulled their punches so much.