Standing Ovation

The five Ovations are 12-year-old Atlantic City girls chasing the American dream: belting awful pop songs at an audience. Standing Ovation focuses primarily on leader Brittany (Kayla Jackson), a plucky waif living in genteel poverty above a pizza and chicken restaurant, dreaming of the father she never knew and singing on the boardwalk when her OTB-addict granddad can’t meet the bills. The Ovations’ rivals: “The Wiggies,” well-funded daughters of local hairpiece magnate Mr. Wiggs (Sal Dupree). Most of the cast seem to have spent time at Dupree’s Performing Arts Center of Linwood, N.J., and I think he must be considered the auteur here. (Stewart Raffill wrote and directed.) What measure of charm Standing Ovation has, though, is due to its slapdash shabbiness and regional-fare quality, with whiffs of South Jersey and quaintly old-school ethnic stereotyping (impractical Irish dreamers, Italian tough guys). Things come to a head as the Wiggies and the Ovations set their sights on a televised tween music-video contest with $1 million grand prize. But my favorite scene involves the Ovations doing a commercial for a repulsive soft drink, where the issue isn’t whether to walk out on principle but how to choke it down on-camera.

Categories: Movies