Connie and Carla

Connie and Carla
Film review by: Witney Seibold

Connie and Carla
Yes, the film is cheesy. Yes, it piles it on nice and thick. Yes, the two women posing as drag queens don’t really look like men (although at times, Toni Collette comes close to pulling it off). Yes, writer and co-star Nia Vardalos, following the success of her Big Fat Greek Wedding, could have made a film with more ambition. Yes, it’s actually kind of a stupid film. Yes, the story is an overblown weeknight sitcom. Yes, David Duchovny, a fine and respectable actor, has added another strange choice to his already scattershot résumé (“The X-Files” AND “The Red Shoe Diaries?” Yeesh). Yes, the ending is chaotic and poorly filmed. And yes, we see the clear and obvious lift from “Some Like It Hot.” Yes. Yes. Yes.

But you know what? The film made me laugh, and that’s worth something, right?
Stories of people in drag are literally thousands of years old. And while the film about the dreamers finally becoming successful is a little younger, we’re just as sick of it. So when we see Vardalos and Collette as the titular duo hiding out as drag queens to hide from criminals, it’s groan-inducingly pat. But Vardalos and director Michael Lembeck seem to be celebrating other things. The joy of performing. The joyous tackiness of dinner theater. The joy and freedom of dressing in drag… there’s joy all over this film. And the makers, while not making a perfect film, are obviously glad to be cheering.

There is an offensive conceit in the film: that gay men are all lisping, cross-dressing aesthetes that call everyone “Mary” and regularly watch “Yentl.” It deals with the supporting characters in broad stereotypes. This feeling is, however, diffused by a rather sweet and real performance from Stephen Spinella (from the L.A. production of “Angels in America,” and the rather good Canadian queer flick “Love! Valour! Compassion!”), the alienated gay brother of Duchovny’s character. It does belong in a better movie, but it helps raise this one a tad. Once again, it’s hardly a great film. It’s merely “kinda cute.” But sometimes “kinda cute” can be enough.

Published in: on September 1, 2009 at 11:29 am  Leave a Comment  

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