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Die, Mommie, Die

Transgendered And Unfunny

About.com Rating 1 Star Rating

By Marcy Dermansky

Charles Busch as Angela Arden

Charles Busch as Angela Arden

The best thing about "Die, Mommie Die" is the title. I could not help but wish for the film to make haste to its unsatisfying conclusion; if that meant killing off Mommie, her death would have been welcome. Mommie is played by playwright and stage actor Charles Busch in a transgendered but otherwise unfunny performance as Angela Arden, a retired lounge singer.

The movie, based on Busch's play, aims to be a cult classic, a campy tribute to old Hollywood movies. "Die Mommie Die" toys with old fashioned melodrama, complete with cheesy lighting, back-projection car trips, and overwrought dialogue. Busch's Angela is an amalgam of famous leading ladies, a mix of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Angela has a young gigolo for a lover (Jason Priestly), an angry daughter (Natasha Lyonne with strangely puffy cheeks,) a zealot Christian maid (Frances Conroy), a promiscuous gay son (Stark Sands) and a mean-spirited, constipated husband (Phillip Baker Hall).

The humor lies in the fact that we are watching a man playing a woman. There is also the ludicrous dialogue and the ludicrous murder plot, but unfortunately, I wasn't tickled by any of it. The constant self-conscious wink-wink, nudge-nudge, isn't-this-funny vibe wears thin fast. Like Angela's obnoxious dog, the movie keeps humping your leg in hopes of getting a laugh. After a while, you just want to put it out of its misery.

  1. About.com
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  3. World / Independent Film
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  6. Natasha Lyonne
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