DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (1999)

Directed By: Michael Patrick Jann

Written By: Lona Williams 

Cinematography: Michael Spiller Editor: David Codrob & Janice Hampton 

Cast: Kirstie Alley, Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Brittany Murphy, Amy Adams, Will Sasso, Mindy Sterling, Ellen Barkin, Allison Janney, Sam Mcmurray, Alexandra Holden, Matt Malloy, Mo Gaffney, Adam West, Nora Dunn, Jacy King, Amanda Detmer, Michael McShane, Jon T. Olson, Laurie Sinclair 

A small-town beauty pageant turns deadly as it becomes clear that someone will go to any lengths to win.


This should have been a bigger hit or at least better remembered. This movie had a cast of many before they were stars actresses. 

The film keeps it’s dark sense of humor throughout despite being more aimed at being a mainstream comedy. The film might think itself more of a satire but comes off more as straight comedy. It’s Inspired but the jokes don’t come off as sharp as they should. 

Watching this film originally in a theater was a memorable film experience if only because it is one of the few I watched with one of my best friends. It was a late summer movie and we were the only ones who seemed to laugh non-stop cementing our budding friendship. As we had the same kind of sense of humor.

Denise Richards looks the part, but also seems a little to long in the tooth for her role. As she looks noticeably older then the rest of the contestants. She also looks too polished. But does look like a beauty queen.

Kirsten Dunst is good as the lead. The beginning of her best roles playing more small town girls.

Though this is more of a teen movie. It spends just as much time on the adult characters. Who are more guilty in their influences and rivalries.

This is a kind of more studio oriented version of the 1970’s comedy SMILE. Which was also an ensemble comedy looking at a small town beauty pageant that was more risqué at the time and had a lot of material you couldn’t get away with now. This film is cleaner and snarkier then that one.

Amy Adams and Brittany Murphy are standouts amongst the cast. This is really Adams first big role and Brittany Murphy is hilarious in her supporting role. One wishes she had been given more to do and be in as she makes the material work and rise.

I remember this was one of the first roles I remember seeing Alison Janney in next to 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU. As she and Ellen Barkin steak their scenes together and even when apart they do.

This is one of the better film roles for Kirstie Alley has played. Here she is the villain and head of the pageant community and ceremony.

The movie is directed by Michael Patrick Jann who was a member of the sketch comedy group THE STATE as well as director of most of their specials. The performances end up better than the film overall.

The problem is at times the film comes off as too goofy and is mostly safe. Playing it’s

The Midwestern angle is strong. I guess they need representation in movies at the time. When it’s Strengths are more when it explores it’s dark side.

Though the humor never has quite the sting you expect and want 

GRADE: C+

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