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$ellebrity: The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Photos 

Wednesday, Jan 9 2013
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It's not easy being famous, as the famous love to remind us. Just ask Jennifer Aniston, Kid Rock, or any of the other instantly recognizable talking heads director Kevin Mazur has assembled for his docu-evisceration of the parasitic celebrity apparatus, appropriately titled $ellebrity. Although no one would deny that the increasingly unscrupulous paparazzi are sleazy and often even dangerous, Mazur miscalculates when he tries to direct viewers' outrage at stars' inability to walk down the street without getting cameras thrust in their faces. He's on far surer ground when he uses his on-screen subjects to decry the proliferation of gossip outlets, such as TMZ, which in turn leads to the debasement of mainstream news outlets. A high point: the film's background on the (de-)evolution of press photographic practices. While it's not all condemnation here, as Mazur allows gossip-rag editors and paparazzi to tell their own side of the story, it's clear where the film's sympathies lie. $ellebrity, though, is less interested in any in-depth analysis of the system of star-making (and destroying) than in allowing Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony to tell stories of hiding in a car trunk to avoid snapping flashes.

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Alan Scherstuhl

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