Earlier this year, there was a big bru-ha-ha over the movie Bridesmaids. It was a comedy written by women, about women, and for women AND it was actually FUNNY, so FUNNY that MEN ACTUALLY WANTED TO SEE IT. The world was turned on its ear. The general consensus is, "Oh yeah, of course there are funny women...but their movies suck." (I'll only mention Tina Fey--funny lady--and Baby Mama--train wreck.) I loved Bridesmaids, but today I'll be writing about another female penned comedy that doesn't involve a bet, a newspaper article, or someone being chased on their way to the airport.
Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
In honor of the 50th year of the Sarah Rose Cosmetics®©™ American Teen Princess Pageant, a documentary crew is sent to the small town of Mount Rose, Minnesota to commemorate the event. The crew interviews several townspeople involved with the pageant's production including coordinator and former Mount Rose American Teen Princess Gladys Leeman (Kirstie Alley). Her daughter, Rebecca (Denise Richards), is the favorite to win, having been trained since birth. Also competing is Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst), a girl from the trailer park with big dreams of being a reporter like Diane Sawyer. But as the pageant nears, several of the contestants have been meeting violent ends.
So why is it funny? Well, first of all, the mockumentary is a format too often unused. Unless there is some kind of inner monologue, we miss much of a characters own thoughts and personal insights in any given film. With the interviews, we are given the chance to hear these.
Secondly, Drop Dead Gorgeous makes fun of everyone--the mentally handicapped, anorexics, pedophiles, racists, trailer trash, the deaf, Japanese immigrants, lesbians, sluts, Catholics, pregnant teens, amputees--no one is safe. In fact, it's much like Family Guy in that sense. Unapologetic and unforgiving, this movie has balls...ironic, considering its written by woman.
And finally, like Andrew's pick, it comes down to a string of one liners and gags. Most of my favorite lines are given by Amber's mother's trashy chain smoking and promiscuous best friend Loretta (Allison Janney).
- "Jesus Christ, Amber, she clung to your tap shoes while flying through the air like a Goddamn lawn dart." - Loretta
- "My mom gave me this 9 mill. for my 13th birthday. Yeah. I'll always remember what she put on the card. "Jesus Loves Winners". That's why no matter what I do, I always aim to win." - Rebecca Leeman
- "I can sum up our entire philosophy with this glass. I can look at it and see that it's half full which in the beauty pageant biz means WHERE THE HELL IS MY WAITER!?" - Colleen Douglas (Nora Dunn)
- "I was crowned Mount Rose American Teen Princess in 1945. We were at war with the Japs. Didn't even get to keep my damn tiara. Had to turn it in for scrap!" - Iona Hildebrandt (Claudia Wilkens)
- "You're talking about the richest family in a small town. It's front page news when one of 'em takes a shit." - Loretta
I will officially state that Drop Dead Gorgeous is my favorite comedy film and it's even funnier if you've been in a small town pageant...trust me.