Movie 2004 - Nia Vardalos, Toni Collette and David Duchovny
The general public’s interest in all things queer has launched many famous and funny movies such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The Birdcage to mention two. This years unusual smash hit is not a gay movie per se, but a celebration of the timeless art of Drag in the hit Connie and Carla.
Connie played by the talented Nia Vardalos and Carla portrayed by the Australian actress Toni Collette is an extremely humorous look at the drag scene from two straight girls eyes.
Connie and Carla are small town girls who dream of making it big in dinner theater / cabaret. Their dreams seem to have got a tad stuck somewhere along the way as we meet them performing for the hapless passengers at an airport. After their last performance for the night they watch on as their boss is murdered and in good drama queen style the killers see them and start the chase.
To escape the girls decide is to get away form everything they know and hide out somewhere “Totally devoid of culture and dinner theatre – Los Angeles!” Ass they are hurriedly packing their car up one of their mothers pipes up and asks them if they are really prostitutes!
They soon find work singing and performing but there is a catch, people think they are drag queens. This is the basis for a whole lot of very good renditions of great cabaret standards such as Don’t Cry for me Argentina from Evita (with full audience participation), I’m Just a girl who can’t say no, Don’t rain on my parade and many more.
Life as women imitating men dressed as women can get extremely complicated especially when you fall in love with the straight brother of one of the other drag queens. The straight brother played by David Duchovny though thinks you are a gay man and is horrified by a gay guy coming onto him!
“yeah actually I am hiding, some murderers are after me and I’m hiding out as a drag queen”
This movie has its moments and is at times humorous and fun, but it seems to lack something. The music is great and Toni Collete and Nia Vardalos play drag queens to a T. But again this movie is aimed at the average Joe in the street and the characterizations of the gay guys and the real drag queens are one dimensional.
What really lets this film down is the lack of actual depth to any of the gay characters and of course none of the gay men in the film have real love lives. There is a great kiss at the beginning of the movie between two very hunky guys, but that’s it. All he rest of the love story is about good old straight couples.
The movie is definitely one to watch for the sheer spectacle and music, but don’t expect a better understanding of either the world of drag or the gay scene.