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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
New Drag Comedy and As You Like It
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0892  Monday, 19 April 2004

From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Apr 2004 07:49:38 -0400
Subject:        New Drag Comedy and As You Like It

MOVIE REVIEW | 'CONNIE AND CARLA'

2 Women Hide From the Mob by Acting Like Gays in Drag
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
Published: April 16, 2004, NY Times

Elke Schroter/Universal Studios
Do these boys look gay? Toni Collette, left, and Nia Vardalos in "Connie
and Carla."

The brassy cross-dressing farce "Connie and Carla" shows that Hollywood
still gets the jitters about gender-bending. Forgetting that a daily
parade of sexual and sartorial hybrids troops through the country's
living rooms on shows like Jerry Springer's, it exhibits Hollywood's
usual two-faced attitude when dealing with gender and sexual role-playing.

On the one hand this comedy, in which two women on the run from mobsters
pose as drag performers, exhibits a 1950's sense of shock. That
prudishness is embodied in the leaden performance of David Duchovny as
Jeff, the clueless straight brother of Peaches (Stephen Spinella), a
drag performer. On the other it leaps onto a soapbox and preaches
tolerance and brotherly love with a vague, overcompensating stridence.

These contradictions are subsumed under a potentially marketable high
concept: "Some Like It Hot" meets "Victor/Victoria" in the land of "As
You Like It." Here Shakespeare's Forest of Arden becomes a West
Hollywood drag club where Connie (Nia Vardalos) and Carla (Toni
Collette), two bedraggled veterans of the dinner-theater circuit, become
overnight (and highly unlikely) cult stars by posing as gay drag
performers. The club is heavily patronized by Hollywood's most
convenient and tiresome gay stereotype: hunky men who worship Barbra
Streisand and seem to have memorized every song from every Broadway
musical ever produced

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