Supergirl (1984)

Rating: *
Review Date: 10/30/99
Cast: Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway, Brenda Vaccaro, Peter O'Toole

Disappointing. What should have been a kick-ass comic book action movie featuring a flying mini-skirted cutie quickly turns into a light and fluffy teenage girlie romance flick. I really wanted to like it, but the sappy love crap really made my skin crawl. For whatever contrived reasons, Superman's cousin, Kara (cute Helen Slater), gets whisked away to Earth along with the power source for her home, Argo City. She needs to retrieve the power source and return home in order to save her people, but a nasty witch named Selena (played with seductively wicked glee by Faye Dunaway) stumbles across it first and uses it for her own vile machinations. Conveniently, Superman is some trillion light years away arbitrating peace negotiations with some alien race. It figures. From the moment she reaches Earth, Supergirl is enthralled by everything around her with the wonder of an innocent child. She does a much better job of disguising herself than Clark does, and soon enrolls herself at a stuffy girls school. Why? Who knows? Surprise, surprise, she ends up rooming with Lois Lane's sister, Lucy, at the girls dorm who just happens to be dating Jimmy Olsen. From here on out, it's pretty much wacky teenage high jinks as Supergirl tries to fit in with all the girls, while trying to complete her mission to return home. She also catches the attention of a hunky gardener who falls in love with her due to a love potion gone awry. Oh my goodness. (this plot element is utterly unforgivable) During their final lackluster duel, Selena somehow manages to send Supergirl to the Phantom Zone, but she escapes rather easily, making you wonder if it's such a good place to send exiled criminals afterall. Supergirl finally turns Selena's own horrible magic back on her and saves the world from destruction. She then heads back home with the power source and presumably lives happily ever after.

On the plus side, Helen Slater is a lot of fun to watch, even if her wide-eyed innocent act grows thin after a while. She's got a cute little outfit, and the flying effects are extremely well executed (with careful attention paid to obscure any stray panty shots). Faye Dunaway is also a howl to watch. She's deliciously wicked and sinfully sexy, and hams up her role to the extreme. Unfortunately, all of the women in the film have a soft spot for hunky guys, and the boy chasing element of the film seems to make light of the fact that the destruction of two worlds is at stake. How come girls always tend to fight over petty things in action films? They rarely fight for truth, justice, and the American way - they fight over boys instead. It's a shame, really.