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Filmed documentary-style, Bigger Than Tina follows the quest for fame of Dan Vardy-Cobb (Michael Dalley), an aspiring singer-songwriter living in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. His dream is to emulate the success of his hero and inspiration, pop star Tina Arena. After being taken on by talent agents Wes Grieves (Fraser Gray) and Jacinta Fellows (Annie Finsterer) Dan moves from his parents' house into a city apartment with girlfriend Chrystal (Sally Lightfoot). During the self-funded recording of his debut album Dan's relationship with Chrystal begins to deteriorate and his performance at a suburban shopping centre ends disastrously. With pressure mounting and funds dwindling Dan becomes reclusive and cracks under the strain....

Review by Richard Kuipers:
The makers of Bigger Than Tina deserve recognition for realising this film on a next-to-nothing budget. Disappointingly, they have turned in a predictable mockumentary which suffers from lack of direction and an unappealing central character. Bright if rather obvious opening sequences deliver the promise of a Spinal Tap-like satire of the music industry as the determined Dan graduates from cheesy talent quests into the hurly-burly of recording studios and management contracts.

Without warning it shifts tone dramatically; abandoning the comic for a rather sad examination of an inflated ego with only modest talent. As Dan's dream slips away he becomes a pathetic character whose appalling behaviour excludes our sympathy. His hokey songs and marginal rock industry status further distance us from the subject. Had this been the story of a star on the skids it might have been compelling.

By the end I was wondering why the Dan Vardey-Cobb story had been filmed and just who it was going to appeal to. Despite strong, convincing performances by Michael Dalley as Dan, Sally Lightfoot as the long-suffering Chrystal and particularly Bushwackers front man Dobe Newton as veteran producer Nippy Tucker, Bigger Than Tina hardly makes good on its title.

August 3, 2006

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CAST: Michael Dalley, Sally Lightfoot, Barry Friedlander, Dobe Newton, Phillipa Chapple, Annie Finsterer

DIRECTOR: Neil Foley

SCRIPT: Neil Foley

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

PRESENTATION: widescreen


DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Force Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: May 22, 2006

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