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When Canadian writer-director Denys Arcand needs an idea for a movie, he heads straight for the video store. His The Decline of the American Empire transposed The Big Chill’s middle-aged house party weekend to an academic setting, and his Jesus of Montreal recycled He Who Must Die’s allegorical staging of a passion play. In Stardom, Arcand reprocesses John Schlesinger’s 1965 Darling, for which Julie Christie won an Oscar playing a striking young woman ensnared by the international jet set. In Arcand’s version, newcomer Jessica Paré stars as Tina Menzhal, an unassertive small-town Canadian teenager who becomes a globally celebrated model. Until the final shot, Arcand presents her as the subject of a faux documentary, seen through the lenses of image makers in fashion photographs, on television talk shows, and in excerpts from a profile of her shot by filmmaker Bruce Taylor (Robert Lepage, in a role inspired by Bruce Weber). Predictably, Tina is exploited by an army of manipulative media hacks and money-grubbing agents and becomes involved in destructive relationships with a kinky French photographer (Charles Berling), a married restaurateur (Dan Aykroyd), and a possessive minor diplomat (Frank Langella). Shot on locations in Montreal, New York, Florida, London, and Paris, Arcand’s film, too broad to succeed as satire and too trite to qualify as cultural commentary, offers little more than wheezy bromides about the media’s vampiric commoditization of beauty. Stardom’s vacuousness is betrayed by its closing shot, in which we finally view Tina directly, unmediated by prying cameras. Arcand’s intention is to reveal the three-dimensional human being behind the hype, but what we actually witness is a minimally talented young actress in the waning seconds of her 15 minutes of fame. —Joel E. Siegel