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I'm the One That I Want

2 Ratings: -1.0
A movie directed by Lionel Coleman

Revered for her crass in-your-face style, Margaret Cho is a stand-up comedian with a sharp and biting wit. She jokes about everything from homosexuality (Cho calls herself a "fag hag" because she loves gay men) to the way her mother mixes Eastern … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Comedies
Director: Lionel Coleman
Release Date: 2000
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about I'm the One That I Want

Margaret Cho Deserves Her Own Pride Parade

  • May 9, 2003
Pros: ranchy, honest, apt, hilarious

Cons: not suitable for prudes

The Bottom Line: The bottom line was forced to lose weight to play itself in a sit-com. The producers were concerned about the fullness of its face.

Margaret Cho has an incredible ability to go from heart wrenching to hilarious in mere seconds. In her first full-length film, Margaret Cho tackles important social issues such as racism, alcoholism and eating disorders, making the audience cry one minute and scream with laughter the next.

I'm the one that I Want, an hour and a half of standup, was filmed in the Warfield Theater in Cho's hometown of San Francisco. In the course of the film, Cho covers a lot of ground, from making fun of her mother's phone messages to telling the audience why the Chippendale dancers must be gay. "There are no straight men with visible abdominal muscles," she declares. "You get those muscles from sucking c*ck." After a brief pause, she adds, "And it doesn't work for women. I've tried."

In case you hadn't figured it out, this isn't the type of movie you'd watch with your grandmother or young children as Cho drops quite a few F-bombs and other words that the Epinions censor would flag. Indeed, Cho is raunchy. I don't always enjoy crude humor, but I admire Margaret Cho immensely as her timing is perfect and her subject matter topical.

In I'm the one that I Want, Cho tells the story of her show business career in roughly chronological order, pausing periodically to reminisce about her childhood. Cho does a dead-on impersonation of her mother*, with hilarious facial expressions. After watching this, you'll probably find yourself repeating some of Mama Cho's most memorable catch phrases such as, "Are you gay?"

When she was growing up, Margaret Cho's parents owned a bookstore with a primarily gay clientele, so they stocked gay porn. One of my favorite parts is Cho's impression of her mother looking at a magazine called Ass Master. "Aaww!!" she shrieks, wincing. "I wasn't expecting that right away! Aaaghhh! I was expecting a table of contents and then ass!"

Cho, who has a large gay following, refers to herself as a "fag hag." She argues that women like her are "the backbone of the gay community."

At one point, Cho began questioning her own sexuality after having sex with a woman when she was the ship comedian on a lesbian cruise to Alaska. "Lesbians love whale watching," she says. After this experience, which she illustrates using colorful hand motions and facial expressions, Margaret wondered, "Am I gay? Am I straight? And then I realized: I'm just slutty. Where's my parade?"

The main part of the movie is devoted to talking about Cho's short-lived sit-com called All-American Girl, in which she starred as, essentially, herself, a Korean American comedian whose routines might embarrass her family. The producers of the show forced Cho to lose weight, ironically, to play herself. She dropped so many pounds in such a short time that her kidneys collapsed and she was hospitalized. The intense dieting made her stupid, Cho reports. "When I saw Jesus carrying the cross up the mountain, I thought, 'Wow, that must be quite a workout,'" she reports.

To add insult to injury, Cho's show "was replaced by Drew Carey. Because he's so skinny."

Cho's ethnicity was also an issue between her and the show's producers. At the beginning of the series, they decided that the show "wasn't Asian enough," so they hired and "Asian consultant" to make sure that Cho ate with chopsticks. After a few episodes, the network changed its mind and declared that it was "too Asian," canceling the program.

Following the show's cancellation, Cho sunk into depression and alcoholism. Cho manages to make even this traumatic part of her life funny by illustrating what it's like when drunk people try to have sex. As you know from the beginning (I mean, it's not Titanic), Cho survives this ordeal and becomes one of the most successful female standup comics of our time. Fittingly, the movie's soundtrack is provided by tough rocker Joan Jett.

My only criticism of I'm the one that I Want is that sometimes Cho drags out the jokes a bit too long. For instance, she repeats, "Hi, my name's Gwen, and I'm here to waaaaasssssh your vagina" at least ten times. Don't ask. You just have to see it.

I'm the one that I Want has a lot to say about the Ku Klux Klan, gay men, sex, pornography, sleazy Hollywood producers, and drugs. Oh, and did I mention sex? And never were meaningful issues presented in way that makes you laugh so hard.

* Cho's mother makes an appearance in the follow-up to this movie, The Notorious C.H.O.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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