by Natasha Theobald
This movie is mostly fluff, with a quick premise to get us to the meat of the story, if there is meat. Mostly there is just whipped topping with lots of musical numbers. If you love Broadway musicals, know the names of your favorite show tunes, and have a yen for performance, the film will be enjoyable for you. If you want depth and passion and no mobster or drag cliches, perhaps not.Connie (Nia Vardalos, who also wrote) and Carla (Toni Collette) are freaks for musical theater. It is while at their side gig, singing at the airport for weary, disinterested travelers, that they see a crime and unknowingly leave the scene of it with something of value to the criminals. Blessedly, this happens very quickly, as it is merely the set-up. The women scream and talk fast at a dog-howling pitch. Then, they hit the road, winding up in West Hollywood.
"Fun, if not remarkable."
While in a drag bar there, they hear of an opportunity to audition as singers (or lip-synchers, cuz the others are, you know, fellas). They get the job, standing out for singing their own tunes, and become Connie and Carla, women pretending to be men dressing as women. They live above the bar, meet some great guys who also do drag, etc. One of the guys (Stephen Spinella) has a brother in town trying to see him (David Duchovny), a brother so dreamy that Connie really wants to blow their cover to get next to him. To him, though, she is just another boy who lives the desire to be a girl. How could it ever work? And, what will happen when the bad guys catch up to the good girls...er guys...er girls?
Let me say, first, the musical numbers are tons of fun. No tune, for the most part, is repeated (except for comic effect), and Vardalos and Collette are clearly having the time of their lives performing. There is singing and dancing, and one-liners abound. As the women agree, being men being women, they can finally act like men and say whatever the hell they want. This gives them freedom to spout off on everything from the lunacy of starving oneself to be thin to just about anything else. In their new position, they are able to shine for the show tune-loving, singing, dancing, show people they really are.
The comedy was sometimes over-broad for me, but the one-liners are pretty funny and some of the tossed off lines had me laughing out loud. Duchovny is there for the romance, but he gets a chance to be his dry, witty self, which I love. Alec Mapa is a stand-out, with great funny bits about his role as N'Cream with his duo, Peaches N'Cream. Ian Gomez gives a great deadpan performance as the owner of the bar and all around good guy. Spinella and Duchovny also pull off some heartfelt moments of tender drama as brothers separated by circumstance and differing lives. Nothing gets too heavy, though.
The DVD offers some amusing outtakes and additional musical numbers for the true believers. The film probably won't change your life or stick with you past the running time, but it is enough fun to recommend for those who like the business of show.One note: the guys and gals dressing in drag would cover their eyebrows with thick make-up and repaint new ones above. It looks fine from the stage, but in close-up on a big screen - as scary as anything I have seen. Be forewarned.
link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9240&reviewer=317
originally posted: 11/20/04 16:27:09