Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1995. Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment. Screenplay by Douglas Carter Beane. Cinematography by Steve Mason. Produced by G. Mac Brown. Music by Rachel Portman. Production Design by Wynn Thomas. Costume Design by Marlene Stewart. Film Editing by Andrew Mondshein. Golden Globe Awards 1995.
When a novice drag queen (John Leguizamo) fails miserably in a local pageant, grand prize co-winners Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes decide to take the young lady under their wing and escort her across the country to the west coast where they’re headed for a nationwide drag pageant. To do so, of course, requires them cashing in their first class plane tickets and buying an old jalopy before heading out on their trip only to be waylaid by car trouble in the middle of the middlest of Middle America. Now, they’re surrounded by tough mechanics and bored housewives and don’t know who to be scared of first. This comedy by director Beeban Kidron has some nice moments for its superlatively talented stars to play with, particularly an astoundingly attractive and funny Leguizamo (though Swayze’s graceful beauty also deserves mention), but the very basic premise that the film rests on is a faulty one: real drag queens don’t dress in drag 24 hours a day. In fact, Wesley Snipes gives a speech at point about the differences between transsexuals and drag queens and the film resolutely opposes this very explanation. Other than that, the film takes a good look at its characters without reducing them to a sideshow attraction, mostly thanks to the work of the actors involved, but even in its best moments it never comes close to being as good as its Australian counterpart, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.