Drop Dead Gorgeous Review Essay, Research Paper
Drop Dead Gorgeous Review
The 1999 Minnesota based film Drop Dead Gorgeous, was a pointless yet hilarious movie. This take off on pageants was produced by Claire Rudinck Polstein, Donna Langley, and Lona Williams with New Line Cinemea. Beauty pageants always seem like a bizarre event to me. It consists of girls with outlandish hair (the frizzier the better) too much makeup (one mustn’t see the real skin), unflattering bathing costumes and lots of cellotape to hold everything in place. It seems strange that one of America’s major obsessions is not parodied on the big screen more often. I suppose that when reality is so crazed, how do you ridicule it?
Ever watched a documentary on beauty pageants? Obsessed parents, nervous, desperate, frustrated teens, ridiculous rivalry, bribery, scandals, biased judges, etc. There is all that plus more in this film. This film is a mockumentary where we meet the contestants, their parents and the judges and follow the local winner to the state and national pageants.
In a small Minnesota town, home of America’s oldest living Lutheran, the annual beauty pageant is underway. The contestants, are perhaps, a little more motivated to win than in real life because not long after the pageant is underway, the entrants who look like they have a chance to win, start dying. Throughout the movie we see how the pageant is structured, how the teenagers prepare and, more importantly, we see how the process is being corrupted to predetermine the outcome. There are many freak accidents one of wish involves a tractor blowing up, and another having an explosion at the trailer park. A light falls during dress rehearsal and a talent costume ends up missing during the actual pageant. The film is packed with jokes, the main targets being Christian values and American pride, two of my pet hates.
The central characters are Denise Richards (Wild Things) and Kirsten Dunst (Small Soldiers). Kirsten Dunst is the girl next door character who practices her makeup skills in the local funeral home. She is honest, caring, and is the town favorite to win but the odds are against her in the form of Denise Richards. Denise is the spoiled, little rich girl, who everyone knows is going to win because of her parents. Denise plays the daughter of Kirstie Alley (TV s Veronica s Closet), former pageant winner, current pageant organizer, and wife of the town’s must successful businessperson. Kirstie is most suited to the role of a straightlaced, obsessive parent.
The cast in general is good, all are convincing as repressed small town folk. The three judges are particularly entertaining, which is not to say the police and the Mayor are not. When the locals come out for the parade I was scared. Were those real rednecks or just convincing extras? I could not live in such a place. There are lots of small jokes and references, which I will leave for you to find.
I never expected a film of this style to be mentally challenging, but as a diversion from seriousness it works. Many comedies cannot sustain the pace for their length. Some start well enough, but eventually the jokes stop and the story becomes serious. Drop Dead Gorgeous is fun all the way, not all the jokes worked but I laughed, I smiled, and I grimaced. It’s very silly and has its share of crass humor as well as clever dialogue which raises it above so many other comedies.
Drop Dead Gorgeous makes some pretty obvious points, but thankfully there is no moral tacked onto this movie. It started, I laughed, it finishes, the end. Forget serious art, not every film has to be worthy of an in-depth analysis. To me being boring is a worse crime than being bad. Most of the great, serious films are dull, most of the extremely popular films are dull. Drop Dead Gorgeous is not dull. So, if you want to get away from the mundane, you should enjoy this crazy, fun, wacky film!