CONNIE & CARLA (2004)

connie

Directed By: Michael Lembeck
Written By: Nia Vardalos
Cinematography By: Richard Greatray
Editor: David Finer

CAST: Nia Vardalos, Toni Colette, David Duchovny, Stephen Spinella, Ian Gomez, Robert John Burke, Dash Mihok, Debbie Reynolds

A mob mix-up in Chicago sends two chanteuses screaming for L.A., where they score a perfect gig: posing as drag queens on the dinner theater/cabaret circuit. Things get extra-weird when a guy falls for one of the girls.

This was the follow up that everyone was waiting for from Nia varadolos after the surprise success of MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING. Now having never seen that film my expectations weren’t that high going into this film. They pretty much stayed that way.

The film at times can be amusing but I can’t say it is ever good. It’s a studio film that looks cheap. The Script is nothing but a kind of gender reversed SOME LIKE IT HOT. That opens itself up to be campy and trying to recruit to a homosexual audience by appearing to be pandering to them. The film Just comes off bad. It has a sheen to it that you can’t take anything too seriously even the comedic moments. The film feels manufactured so that even in the rare emotional scenes. It feels like the characters are going through the motions. Rather then actually feeling anything close to real emotions.

The plot has Connie And Carla two dinner theater actresses witness a mob murder then go on the run to California where they pretend to be male drag queens and get taken in by other drag queens who think they are stars on the circuit. While in California Connie falls for a man who thinks he is a drag queen and wants to get to know his gay brother so uses Connie to coach him in the way of a reconciliation.

The only real saving grace of this film is Toni Collette who really gives her supporting role the old college try and makes her scenes actually entertaining. Ms. Collette is usually a actress you can always count on but she never gets the credit she deserves. I have been a fan of hers Since Muriel’s Wedding and so far in her arid career she has rarely let me down. Nia Vardalados goes through this film as if she is a star but not actually showing any star quality. I know she co-wrote the film but she could also put in some effort.

It’s a film that plays for Theater and Musical fans. Plus anyone who has struggled in dinner theatre. Plus pins it’s entertainment value on farce and camp but not any good version of it. Though it does prove a fact of the movie it tries to copy. Just as it was Said SOME LIKE IT HOT was in black and white because Seeing Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in color and drag wouldn’t have been believable. Looking At Toni Colette and Nia Vardalos as drag queens in color they look ghastly and gaudy. Like villains in THE WITCHES or JAMES & THE GIANT PEACH

Wait For Television

GRADE: D+

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