Film & DVD Review: Stella Street


Running Time 79 minutes

Certificate 15

Reviewed by Jacqueline

For those of you who don’t know Stella Street the movie is an extension of the BBC television series of the same name, (a series that mocks celebrities (all in harmless fun!). Stella Street first appeared on BBC2 over the 1997-1998 Christmas/New Year period.

Stella Street the movie stars Phil Cornwell, John Sessions and Ronni Ancona, who are all brilliant impersonators.

Phil Cornwell’s impersonations were magnificent and comical – he gave David Bowie star quality, acted Michael Caine with perfection and gave Mick Jagger and Jack Nicholson an edge. Phil Cornwell started off as a stand up impressionist appearing in The Cabaret Upstairs on Radio 4 in 1986 and later appeared in the Comic Strip films

John Sessions will have you laughing too! He gave George Harrison, Dustin Hoffman and Keith Richards a style of their own. Al Pacino, (John Sessions), keeps you amused, he rejects the “Tweety Pie in Tinsletown Script” only to beg for it later on when he hits hard times. His relationship with his gardener is most amusing. John Sessions on the other hand trained at RADA with Kenneth Branagh, he is a man of many talents, a comedian, actor and impressionist, who appeared on Full House and more recently starred in Gormenghast.

Ronni Ancona more commonly known for her work on Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression, does her most famous impression of Victoria Beckham. She also takes-off an American reporter, Tara the conwoman and Madonna.

Stella Street, the film kicks off in black and white – quite appropriate for the 1960’s setting. A cleaning lady Mrs Huggett is the centre of attention; she has taken in some famous lodgers. She has lived on Stella Street since it was built and had been bombed in the war. Her lodgers seem amused and charmed by Stella Street, a street that seems no better than any other in Surrey, yet the stars seem hypnotised by what its suburban charms. Mrs. Huggert’s lodgers, The Beatles, are seen running down Stella Street surrounded by hordes of teenagers, much to the annoyance of their neighbour Richard Burton, who seems wound up by all the fuss they are causing. This is only the starter of what is ahead in Stella Street; the main course and dessert are yet to come. A comedy feast and “one great big laugh” to keep you entertained.

Stella Street then jumps to 40 years later and colour kicks onto the screen. Michael Caine is the first to arrive at Stella Street, he immediately tells all his friends of its charm and they are quick to jump on the bandwagon. Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Jimmy Hill and David Bowie move in, their limousines take over the whole street. One house on Stella Street gets sold for £3 million.

The celebrities have taken over and the new Stella Street has been born. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards become shopkeepers. Their shop seems to be empty most of the time, as Mick spends most of his time pouting and strutting his stuff in tight pants. What chance have you got of customer service in a corner store being run by Mick Jagger, (Phil Cornwell) and Keith Richards, (John Sessions)?

The movie takes a sinister turn! The stars have been duped and drawn into one big con, even they can’t get out of this one. Stupidly they have all become victims to criminal boss Vince Crush, Phil Cornell), and his sidekick Tara, who robbed their fortunes. Al’s credit card doesn’t get accepted in the supermarket and Jack’s cheque bounces. It’s hard not to feel sorry for them, especially Mick and Keith who have had their electricity cut off and their shop repossessed.

The stars faced with a reality check realise that they are penniless. Stars still being what they are compete with one another for attention. They act out scenes from their films, all for a few bucks. Jack gives a house tour to tourists throwing in a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, as he competes with Michael’s Italian Job tour. Mick has fallen on hard times and works on the till in the local food store. David Bowie is reduced to working as a handyman.

Unable to make much money they all become homeless and are reduced to sleeping on the street, huddled around a fire to keep warm.

Suddenly, the movie takes another twist but this time it is good news, the police arrive to tell the stars some unexpected news, that their stolen money has been recovered from the bank.

Without wasting any time they pack their bags and jump back into the champagne lifestyle of limousines and money, a world far apart from sleeping rough on Stella Street. The cleaning lady Mrs Huggett gets her paycheck, when she sells her story to the newspapers.

Stella Street is a magnificent movie. It’s fun to see the celebs in everyday situations. It sends out a message that even stars are just like the rest of us, it could have happened to them, they could have been conned out of their money perhaps. Just because they are rich one minute doesn’t mean to say that they will have it for all times, even stars fall on hard times.

An extremely lighthearted, funny and enjoyable movie that comes highly recommended.

DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia Tristar

GENRE: Comedy

DIRECTOR: Peter Richardson

PRODUCERS: John Goldstone, Executive Producer,
Ben Swaffer, Producer

SCREENWRITERS:

  • Phil Cornwell
  • Peter Richardson
  • John SessionsCAST
  • Phil Cornwell
  • John Sessions
  • Ronni Ancona
  • Harry Enfield, Narrator (voice)
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