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Drop Dead Gorgeous

A movie directed by Michael Patrick Jann

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My Own Memories in a Movie. . .

  • Aug 30, 2000
Rating:
+3
Pros: Really funny; Great commentary on pageant life

Cons: Some things are just plum offensive and need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Yes, I admit it. I am a product of an adolescence spent in pageants. From 1991 through 1994, I competed in three major pageants: Miss National Tenager, Junior Miss, and Ms. Barbizon International. I traveled to various places in my state and even down to an Antonio, TX, for a national competition. I met many different girls of various backgrounds.

While watching this movie, I laughed in spite of myself, comparing all of the contestants, their mothers, the board, and the judges to people I encountered during my short-lived pageant "career". The characters found in this movie are true to life, though quite exaggerated.

All I knew about this movie before I watched it was that it was about a pageant. My friend, Matt, insisted that I watch the film after he learned that I owned a title. I am so glad I did! Drop Dead Gorgeous is a dark comedy about a mother and daughter, Gladys and Rebecca Leeman (Kirstie Alley and Denise Richards, respectively), are determined to win the Mount Rose Minnesota title and head on to state. When one of Rebecca's two major rivals, Tammy Curry, is killed in a suspicious tractor explosion, her other rival, Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst), begins to fear for her life. It's obvious that the Leemans are rigging the pageant so that favor falls upon their daughter, even going so far as to buy the judges and sponsor the entire pageant.

What's cool about this movie is that it's done in a documentary format. In this way, the audience gets an objective view of all of the participants of the pageant, both during the pageant and while at home. It's a real tongue-in-cheek commentary on the fake fronts found in all of these pageants.

I love the fact that the Director, Jann, wasn't afraid to go all the way with stereotypes of the Minnesota contestants, townspeople, and families. It was sort of like the stereotyping found in Fargo, and it was just so refreshing to see someone not afraid of being politically incorrect.

Ellen Barkin was hysterical as Amber's smoking, drinking mother. Both she and Gladys are former Mount Rose Beauty Queens, so the competition between Amber and Rebecca runs a little deeper. The fact that both mothers want their daughters to enter the pageant because they won when they were younger is so true to life.

This is a great film to watch when you're in the mood to laugh. It's not a "chick flick" as it may appear. Men and women of all ages, especially older teenagers, will really get a kick out of this movie.



Recommended:
Yes

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About the reviewer
Candice Cain ()
Ranked #406
I own the Candy Cain Travel Co. in Brookhaven, NY. I am a certified Professional Bridal Consultant with the Association of Bridal Consultants and my agency is certified by IATA and CLIA. I specialize … more
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About this movie

Wiki

There can be only one Miss Teen Princess and an overbearing mother will stop at nothing to make sure her daughter wins a beauty contest. A twisted comedy set in a small Minnesota town loaded with some very unladylike behavior. Watch out for the affected Midwestern accents!
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Details

Cast: Ellen Barkin
Release Date: 1999
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: Warner Home Video (December 14, 1999)
Runtime: 1hr 38min
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