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Kenilworth Films
The 5 Ovations from "Standing Ovation."

STANDING OVATION — ★ — Kayla Jackson, Joei DeCarlo; rated PG (vulgarity, violence); in general release

"Standing Ovation" doesn't merit one. In fact, what the film really deserves is to be booed off the screen.

It's an amateurish, poorly assembled and incompetently performed collection of musical comedy cliches.

And the only reason it's even seeing theatrical release is that it was co-produced by James Brolin, better known these days as Mr. Barbra Streisand. Otherwise, it probably would have been consigned to straight-to-video or cable television, which is where it belongs.

Newcomer Kayla Jackson stars as Brittany, an Atlantic City pre-teen who's living in near-poverty conditions with her musician brother, Mark (Austin Powell), and her grandfather (P. Brendan Mulvey), a gambling addict.

But Brittany has ambitions, to be a star. And she's part of a singing/dancing troupe, the 5 Ovations, which is part of a national competition.

Unfortunately, their rivals, the Wiggs sisters, have more money and resources. They've also proved that they'll cheat to get ahead.

That's where the Ovations' new manager comes in. She's Joei (Joei DeCarlo), a tough-as-nails, resourceful pre-teen with her own reasons for wanting the girls to succeed.

The film's screenwriter/director, Stewart Raffill, may be a veteran, but he makes a lot of rookie mistakes. The few laughs here are unintentional.

And while his young stars do have some talent, they're not ready to be starring in a big-screen feature like this.

"Standing Ovation" is rated PG and features crude humor (including flatulence and vomiting gags), supposedly comic violence (slapstick, as well as animal and creature attacks), derogatory language and slurs, and scattered mild profanity (mostly religiously based). Running time: 108 minutes.

e-mail: jeff@desnews.com