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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.02%
Just Average: 13.83%
Pretty Crappy: 22.34%
Sucks: 8.51%

6 reviews, 58 user ratings

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But I'm a Cheerleader
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Everything is in proper order --er, disarray!"
4 stars

Straight camp, eh? You think it works? You must be the disoriented one if you think it does. "But I'm a Cheerleader" is "a comedy of sexual disorientation," a ryely, hilarious film from newcomer Jamie Babbit. A combination of the right actors, the right tone, the right subject matter to satire, and the right style to film it in, easily qualifies this as one of the most laudable and funny comedies of the year. (But I'll still go on record as saying "Scary Movie" was funnier!)

In the press kit for "But I'm a Cheerleader," director Jamie Babit calls it her interest, "in the hyper-real." Everything from the sets, to the costumes are highly stylized in an obviously absurd, yet wholly fascinating way that lend it a completely unique figure.

Megan (Natasha Lyonne) the average high school cheerleader. Reddish spandex top, short skirt, big pom-poms, et al. She lives with the average mother and father (Mink Stole and Bud Cort) who believe in all that is right. She has the average quarterback/all-star/captain of the team boyfriend, who just loves to make out by shoving his tongue down her throat. She thinks everything's normal. Her friends, however, don't --they all think she's gay. The evidence? Pictures of females in her locker, obsession with the color pink, posters of artists like Melissa Ethridge, etc. So her "concerned" friends and stereotypical Christian parents send her off to True Direction, a five-step sexual rehabilitation center.

The first step is admitting she a homosexual, but that doesn't come without some hard convincing. For Megan still fails to believe she's a lesbian, until it's pointed out by another, that the way she looks at other women, is not the way everyone else does.

The center is run by Mary Brown (Cathy Moriarty), whose decor is that of a life-sized Barbie house. The walls are pink and purple, and everything is in perfect 1950's style with eccentric colors. Her assistant is Mike (RuPaul Charles), who wears a shirt that reads, "Straight Is Great!" and claims that he was once gay, but now has found his true direction.

On her way to being "straightened out," Megan, looking like the ideal housewife (exercises include scrubbing the floor, vacuuming, etc.), is well on her way to recovering. Progression stops when the butchest, the tomboy, Graham (Clea DuVall) has a different effect on Megan. The two begin to fall in love shortly, but must keep it on a hidden level to get out of the camp. Otherwise, Megan's parents threatened to disown her, and Graham's father will write her out of his will.

There are so many little plot quirks which add to the hilarity and rara avis of this film, such as the electrode shocker they have to use when they have a naughty thought, or Lloyd and Larry (Wesley Mann and Richard Moll), two long-time rebels from Mary's camp. It's all very simplistic, but very fun --a twist on the average romantic comedy, but as an additionally scathing satire.

"But I'm a Cheerleader" has some moments of seriousness, and aside from being a pro-gay film, is also of a distant cry to those hiding to let them know it's okay; they're not alone. However outreaching that message, is to me, no concern, but the production of the movie, is quite archetypical. Jules LaBarthe's cinematography is bright, bubblely, and flamboyant. It's an attractive eye-candy quality. The same should be said for Rachel Kamerman's production design which drips with color and style. It's something you'd imagine one of the Ompa Loompa's living in from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

Babit has also assembled a first-rate cast! Natasha Lyonne is finally getting the kind of role that grabbed her the auspicious attention in "Slums of Beverly Hills." She slowed, however, taking some poor choices in roles with movies such as "Detroit Rock City," and a minimal role in "American Pie." She's got an awesome, raspy and sexy voice, with a wide range of suitable facial expressions. Clea DuVall, another young favorite of mine, is also finely tuned. She is in most case been similarly stuck in the background of movies such as "The Faculty," "She's All That," and "The Astronaut's Wife." DuVall always does very well with what she's given, but more often than not, she's not given enough. And the physical demand the actresses were requested to perform, was quite noticeable, and they both handled it extremely well.

It was nice to Mink Stole in a movie outside of John Waters, or in any movie at all. From starting off as an amateur way back in the 1960s, she has come a long way and her comedic skills and character's appearance are a nice addition. Cathy Moriarty, RuPaul, and Katharine Towne were also placed well in their respective roles, along with some great cameos.

As for Jamie Babit, her debut film turned out the best she could have hoped for. It's way silly, but the laughs are constant and well written. Everything falls very nicely in place. A very, very funny movie.

Final Verdict: A-

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4405&reviewer=172
originally posted: 08/02/00 19:01:12
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User Comments

3/17/16 Dane Youssef This really was a fun movie. A cut-and-notch above most schlocky formula Hollywood junk. 4 stars
12/20/08 Shaun Wallner Great story! 5 stars
11/02/08 Samantha Pruitt great camp, some funny parts, there are some great characters in this. 4 stars
8/18/06 Taylor Fladgate Not the best ending, but c'mon EricDSnider, it was good! 4 stars
6/14/06 Lisa Hilarious!! One of the campest films ever!!! 5 stars
2/06/06 Anthony How is this movie worth watching 1 stars
2/17/05 axe Has all the depth of Addams Family Values, but it was fun! 3 stars
6/25/04 MAB Loving it 5 stars
4/25/04 Cornelia Really cute 4 stars
10/15/03 Summer This is my favourite movie of all time. 5 stars
9/28/03 Anna it's so wonderful. I love "Graham" and the whole move! tanks for it! 5 stars
8/22/03 nr clea did great 5 stars
8/11/03 jen i liked it 4 stars
7/21/03 M. W. I love this movie! 5 stars
4/01/03 me great 5 stars
3/14/03 HE GREAT FILM 5 stars
3/07/03 y2mckay I could have sworn I wrote a review of this. Am I losing my mind? 3 stars
3/03/03 !! A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/25/02 sarah m to reini urban: that's the point, she can't kiss. it's her first lesbian experience. 5 stars
11/15/02 Big Ted Natasha was hilarious! 3 stars
9/14/02 sally wally I LOVE CLEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/18/02 Michelle Kenobi Funny and Charming. 4 stars
12/16/01 Flagg_Blackstone Katherine's chacter rules. If she wasn't there I probably wouldn't have liked it. 5 stars
12/03/01 John The mere thought of that fat bitch in an orgasmic state gives me dry heaves 2 stars
11/29/01 Hum great sets, good ideas, bad acting 3 stars
9/07/01 Lindsay FUCKING AMAZING!!!!! I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!! CLEA DUVALL.... RRRRRRR!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/19/01 Reini Urban Nice setting, but she cannot kiss. Bad cast, however gay movies are always funny, pseudo ga 3 stars
8/18/01 jon i luved it 5 stars
8/10/01 Destiny ~_^ I must see it again! ~_^ 5 stars
8/08/01 melissa i'd have liked to see more of katherine towne (sinead...mmmm...), but it was still awesome! 5 stars
7/28/01 Rachel This movie was the She-IT! But I'ma Cheerleader is the greatest film, the greatest I say!!! 5 stars
7/04/01 r-chan (what? you thought I'd give you the REAL one?) Ho-hum. I'd heard that this movie was really great, but it kind of let me down. 4 stars
7/03/01 Alyce & Kate Andre Rocks!!!! Kick ass show!!! 5 stars
6/13/01 lauren i thought it was amazing, and so funny. i even cried. =) clea duvall is definitely hot 5 stars
6/12/01 laurawho7 Best Gay Flick yet!! 5 stars
5/26/01 Stacey This was an amazing movie! Being a lesbian myself I really connected with it! 5 stars
5/25/01 Bada Bing Crosby Thankfully clocks in under 90mins., even that was a struggle. UGH!! 1 stars
5/25/01 Max The best part is the beginning. All those succulent cheerleaders bouncing up and down. 3 stars
5/23/01 Jessica Koala I loved it... and I'm so happy that it was made .. it kicks big fucking ass!!! ;p 5 stars
4/24/01 Monday Morning Not just unfunny, but poorly produced and acted. Waste of time.. 1 stars
4/19/01 Stephen Booth Best film in a long time 5 stars
4/15/01 Candie Barnett It's cool 4 stars
4/08/01 Lindsay It had a really good plot and point, but had too many lame parts stuck in between. 4 stars
3/19/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Bordering on ridiculous, but...it's all in the name of camp... 4 stars
3/12/01 Johnboy The lesbian scene was pretty cool, but it was all downhill from there 2 stars
2/20/01 Rocket Boy One-note joke gone an hour and a half too far. 1 stars
1/14/01 chris sucked really bad 1 stars
12/31/00 jen perfect film! great visuals, silly story and brill acting! 5 stars
11/20/00 neil bartlett great idea, but simply isn't funny 2 stars
10/15/00 The Bomb 69 biting satire, funny all the way through, good music as well 5 stars
10/13/00 Leon Trotsky The music puts it over the top. Too cool. 5 stars
10/09/00 Monday Morning This "satire" is lame...cinematography and acting are poor as well. 1 stars
8/25/00 Reverend Krule "Silly Faggot, Dicks are for Chicks" 5 stars
8/17/00 Ryan Phillippe Gets Hit By A Car and It Fuckin Rules! This movie was the most awesome thing that ever happened to me, before the labotomy. 5 stars
8/09/00 pipeman A great idea, but not enough to sustain the entire movie. I got bored. 3 stars
8/08/00 Phag Another case of beating satire to death and ending up with lots of crap 1 stars
8/03/00 Jake Very funny. Has its gay cliche spoofs in it. 5 stars
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  28-Jul-2000 (R)


  16-Nov-2000 (MA)

Directed by
  Jamie Babbit

Written by
  Brian Wayne Peterson

  Natasha Lyonne
  Clea DuVall
  Cathy Moriarty
  Bud Cort
  Mink Stole

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