Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
Main cast: Kirsten Durnst (Amber), Ellen Barkin (Annette), Denise Richards (Becky), and Kirstie Alley (Gladys)
Director: Michael Patrick Jann


Oh, midyear is here and I'm already feeling the burn of overwork. Hence I want to watch a really nasty movie. A most un-PC, rip-into-each-other's eyes out sort of movie. DDG sounds like fun - a dark comedy that satirizes the beauty pageant industry. I love the TV movie The Positively True Adventures Of An Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, so there is no reason I shouldn't enjoy DDG.

Actually, DDG is surprisingly unfunny. Oh, I know, the concept is a can't-miss. But when it comes out on screen, it sort of lost its funniness. There are some funny moments, but this movie, overall, is a bore. TPTAOAATCM is a much more fun and wicked movie. If they do a rerun on TV on that one, I'll be there to rewatch it.

Amber's mom has high hopes of Amber winning the annual Miss Mount Rose beauty pageant. Surely the prize money and contracts would help Amber get out of Mt Rose and find a better life. Thing is, Miss Mt Rose Beauty pageant is run by Gladys who is absolutely determined to have her equally determined daughter Becky win. And when other contestants start dying one by one, there's more than catfight going on around backstage.

Now, there should be nothing wrong with the script. It sounds wonderful. The clever things in DDG include:

  • Last year's winner, now a patient in the Eating Disorders Wing in the local hospital. She appears this time to do a bizarre lip-synching rendition of a brassy loud tune in a wheelchair pushed by someone.
  • Beauty pageant contestants getting severe food poisoning and a reporter going, "I've never seen so many beautiful contestants throwing up before."
  • A closet pedophile with a taste for underaged girls as head judge.
  • The excruciatingly bad talent showcases from the performers.

Clever, but when translated into the screen, somehow they don't earn much more than a weak chuckle or "That's smart" from me.

Maybe it's because I've foreseen the supposedly-surprising finale long before it came. Kirstie Alley, Kirsten Durnst, and Denise Richards are wooden in the movie. Denise Richards, smoulderingly evil in Wild Things, turn on a pale, pallid clone of her character in the latter movie. Kirstie Alley is never convincing as the crazy mom, and Kirsten Durnst is bland and boring. Only Ellen Barkin shows some memorable comedy scenes, but she's not enough to save the show from being totally boring.

Fun concept, boring movie. Quite a waste really.

Rating: 48


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