Movie: Drop Dead Gorgeous
My Rating: 3 stars
Well, here’s another fun, old classic from the 90s. It’s a delightfully dark mockumentary about the perils of the teen beauty pageant circuit starring Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, and Kirstie Alley. The movie addresses tough issues like jealousy, poverty, and what it means to be a good American. And, it also touches on all the casual racism, sexism, and religious bigotry you see in small, Midwest towns in America. It’s pretty cutting material. Although some of actors did seem to be approaching the racist scenes with a little too much gusto for my comfort. Oh well.
This movie is also pretty special for the horrific 90s outfits and hairstyles it features. (Although, I don’t think those elements were supposed to be so funny at the time the movie was made). Another thing I didn’t notice when I watched this movie the first time was all the actresses that went on to be pretty famous. Of course I remembered the three leading ladies. But I completely forgot about all the other famous actors in supporting roles, like Amy Adams, Brittany Murphy, Ellen Barkin, Allison Janney, and Will Sasso. The movie is full of great performances. The story centers around the run-up to the Miss Teen Princess America Pageant. And, all the girls in town are pretty excited to participate. But, the playing field isn’t exactly equal since Becky Ann Leeman (Denise Richards), and her mother Gladys (Kirstie Alley) are trying to throw the odds in their favor. They’re pouring a lot of money into the pageant, and when that isn’t enough, we’re pretty sure they’re responsible for bumping off some of the other contestants. And, things are starting to look pretty dire for little Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst), the favorite to win the pageant.
The comedy and satire in this movie isn’t very subtle. The writers pretty much hit us over the head with all the stereotypes about how uncultured and backward these small, Midwestern towns are supposed to be. But that being said, some of the jokes are still pretty funny (except, of course, for some of the really aggressively racist ones. Yikes!). The pageant judges are pretty hilarious with how poorly suited they are for the job—an uptight librarian type, a hardware store manager, and a full-on pervert. And, Will Sasso is always pure gold as the town simpleton. There’s plenty to enjoy in this film as long as you aren’t easily offended. I wouldn’t necessarily make this movie atop priority to see, but I think you’ll probably enjoy it when you get around to it.