Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2004. Universal Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, CCLA Productions, Epsilon Motion Pictures. Screenplay by Nia Vardalos. Cinematography by Richard Greatrex. Produced by Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Tom Hanks. Music by Randy Edelman. Production Design by Jasna Stefanovic. Costume Design by Ruth Myers. Film Editing by David Finfer. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
Two friends since childhood (Nia Vardalos, who also wrote the script, and Toni Collette), live for the day when they’ll fulfill their big dreams of making it to the top of the show-biz heap: dinner theatre! While paying their dues in an airport lounge, they witness a mafia murder and decide to hit the road to protect themselves from the crime boss (Robert John Burke) who did the deed. Their new hometown of Los Angeles isn’t the culture haven they were dreaming of, all the more reason that they would be safer from the bad guys, but that doesn’t mean they can keep their light under a bushel for long. After weeks of searching for work, they stumble upon a talent competition in a drag queen bar and so dress up as men dressing up as women and win the contest. Next thing you know, a seedy little drag bar is turned into a West Hollywood phenomenon. The rest should be a piece of cake, but when Vardalos falls in love with an uptight, heterosexist banker (David Duchovny), she is faced with telling him the truth and risking her cover or missing out on true love for good. This combination of Victor/Victoria and Some Like It Hot (from which the script liberally borrows) is made enjoyable by two amazing performances and a delightful host of supporting characters, not to mention dazzling costumes and a host of musical theatre standards that stop the show cold. Shame then, that the hackneyed direction and painfully contrived ending leave a taste in your mouth that is more sour than sweet. Still, it’s worth watching if only for the look on Vardalos’s face when the other showgirls have a feel of her ‘fake’ breasts.