Review by James Lindorf
Long before Kate Nash was co-starring on the hit Netflix series GLOW as Rhonda Richardson, she was an 18-year-old platinum-selling recording artist. “Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl” uses the singer’s home videos following her from rising star to just scraping by in L.A., fighting to regain a bit of her past success. Combining the home videos with new and old concert footage is Director Amy Goldstein, who is making her return to directing after 2014’s “The Hooping Life.” “Underestimate the Girl” will debut on the new Alamo on Demand VOD service on May 22nd with a special live performance and Q&A with Nash following the 9 pm EST screening on May 23rd, 2020.
The movie follows Kate’s career path from a restaurant worker who finds her big break after an accident. A year later has a national tour, and the only thing keeping her from owning the top of the charts is Beyoncé. It all vanished after just one decision leaving Kate to spend the last 10+ years chasing down the ever-elusive spotlight. Some hurdles were thrown her way by an uncompromising industry that will toss an artist out the instant trouble outweighs the money. However, some of her problems are of the self-inflicted variety when her desires overwhelmed her business sense. Kate is a fighter, relying on passion as much as skill, like Rocky, she will do jobs she doesn’t enjoy doing to be able to do what she loves on the side. Also, like Rocky, Kate won the most significant award in her field, fell into relative obscurity, and even had money stolen by someone on her team. Kate often claims that music is her life, and she would die without it, and it is clear that without her music, she would find life a lot less worth living because it is her first love. It is a good thing we never have to worry about her giving up her fight to play her music and share it with anyone willing to listen.
“Underestimate the Girl” is, at times, raw and passionate, just like its subject, as it follows Kate’s battle to regain the spotlight. Sometimes the problem with being raw is that it can lead to being interpreted as being unpolished or unfinished. The film doesn’t escape that unfortunate evaluation. Scenes of Kate buying a TV, picking up her prescription, or taking out the trash make up a notable percentage of the film without any narrative or entertainment value. The film is entertaining and educational but would have worked better by either expanding other areas or removing these extra scenes and releasing as a short.
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