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|Connie and Carla|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Michael Lembeck|
scr Nia Vardalos
with Nia Vardalos, Toni Collette, David Duchovny, Stephen Spinella, Dash Mihok, Nick Sandow, Robert John Burke, Boris McGiver, Alec Mapa, Christopher Logan, Robert Kaiser, Debbie Reynolds
release US 16.Apr.04, UK 11.Jun.04
Wigs and make-up to die for: Collette and Vardalos do all their own singing
Connie and Carla (Vardalos and Collette) have spent their life trying to entertain people with elaborate song and dance routines. While working in a Chicago airport lounge, they witness a mob hit and go on the run, hiding out as drag queens in a West Hollywood bar. And in pretending to be men dressing up as women, they finally find their audience! Meanwhile, a fellow drag queen (Spinella) is trying to reconcile with his brother (Duchovny), upon whom Connie immediately develops a crush. Then Carla's boyfriend (Mihok) and Connie's ex (Sandow) track them down ... with the mob boss (Burke) and his henchman (McGiver) right behind them.
The parallels with both Some Like It Hot and Victor/Victoria are obvious; Vardalos gleefully refers to both of these (and of course Yentl) while building a predictable farce. The romantic and crime subplots both feel like dead weight amid the otherwise enjoyable frivolity, which is a shame because Duchovny gives a nice turn in the film's most thankless role, and McGiver never gets the pay-off his character is clearly heading for. Performances are sharply delivered with wit and energy, and even some gently authentic emotion. Collette, as always, is far better than a fluffy film like this deserves, adding a level of grit and pathos even when she's saying something sublimely daft or wearing the most ludicrous wig the costume department could come up with.
But the film's real joy comes in its camp performance pieces, which outrageously poke fun at the guilty pleasures of musical theatre, right up to the show-stopping appearance of Connie and Carla's idol Debbie Reynolds. She's the incarnation of the film's cheery "let's put on a show" spirit. And this is why it's so much fun to watch--Connie and Carla are real people, genuinely funny and slightly flawed, women we can identify with immediately and root for right up to the goofy finale. You gotta love it.
|Laurie T, Minneapolis: "This movie looked silly, and it was kinda - but I have to say I really truly enjoyed it. David Duchovney played his role well - a man struggling to accept his older brother, whom he thought ran away from home, only to learn he had been kicked out. It is not as good as Nia Vardalos' Greek Wedding - that movie will be hard to top, if ever - but it is close. The entire audience howled in the end, when Debbie Reynolds made her appearance. Just an enjoyable time at the movies, and I will buy the soundtrack!" (18.Apr.04)|
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