By Owen Gleiberman
July 11, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Everybody's Famous: Joe Voets

It’s one thing when a movie tells you to go for your dream. The staggeringly contrived Flemish fairy tale Everybody’s Famous! says that to be a star, all you need is to believe in your talent — even if you don’t have any. At amateur variety contests, Marva (Eva van der Gucht), a miserable fat teenager, warbles her way through tone deaf renditions of ”Material Girl.” But her father (Josse de Pauw), a scalawag prole who wears some of the ugliest shirts ever seen on a movie screen, knows that she’s got greatness in her. In a scheme that trashes credibility far more than it does morality, he kidnaps the country’s reigning pop diva and arranges for Marva to record a song he ”wrote.”

A movie that aspires to be ”Muriel’s Wedding” and can’t muster the proper wacky fraudulence to achieve that goal is a sad spectacle indeed. Sheer awfulness aside, a question lingers: Why would a company like Miramax even release a film in which a talent show contestant performs an Otis Redding impersonation — in blackface?

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