Pop Star on Ice: Johnny Weir Mouthing Off


Pop Star on Ice doesn’t so much follow figure skater Johnny Weir as offer him a platform on which to mouth off, punctuated with practice and competition footage. Organized around a timeline that keeps popping up like PowerPoint, Pop Star offers zero that enthusiasts didn’t know already and nothing for the rest of us. Cut down from an upcoming Sundance Channel show about Weir (which explains, but doesn’t excuse how bland and unaffecting this is), the doc shows us that Weir has a good relationship with his parents and a one-man entourage—BFF Paris—whom he likes to queen it up with, whether on the way to the competition, at fashion shows, or just driving around. The flamboyant Weir remains obstinately (and pointlessly) mute on his sexuality, but the movie’s been making the GLBT film festival rounds. And, like a lot of second-tier queer cinema, the film just shows up and asks for an audience without earning it. Directors David Barba and James Pellerito give us practice leaps and competition falls, press conferences and rebuttals—but nothing more. Weir’s mildly engaging, but for a man so obsessed with his sport, you’d think he’d make for a more compelling subject—and you’d think someone would struggle to convey what he does differently, how he does it, and what it takes to achieve it.

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