Projections - Movie Reviews

But I'm a Cheerleader But I'm a Cheerleader

Natasha Lyonne has proven that she can take parts that show maturity.  She dealt well with teen angst in last year's American Pie, even better in the 1998 comedy, Slums of Beverly Hills, where she learned a lot of things while constantly moving at the request of her impetuous father played by Alan Arkin.  However, in her latest independent foray, But I'm a Cheerleader, she's in a weakly handled satire, which is too obvious and not the caustic comedy that it could have been if John Waters or Alexander Payne had been behind the camera.

Here, Lyonne is cast as Megan, an active teen who has to undergo a sexual reprogramming.  Director Jamie Babbit appears diverting from the onset as Megan appears to be your average seventeen year old cheerleader who has good parental backing.  Yet before you know it, Megan is off to shake her homosexual tendencies at a desert rehabilitation camp, True Directions.

Coming across like a Mommie Dearest, Cathy Moriarty lays it on heavy as the homophobic counselor in charge.  The one dimensional Mary Brown has Megan initially responding positively to the efforts of the homophobic ex-hussies, as she obviously wants to get back home to her routine of pom poms, sports, and boys.

A sketchy formula extended feature that has elements of the recent 28 Days and Girl, Interrupted in its rehab clinic approach.  But I'm a Cheerleader abounds in stereotypes, as the whining boys in the camp are drawn to the hunk Rock, Mary's son, with his tight jeans and T-shirt.  The delineation of sexuality corresponds with Babbit's inability to stage her scenes with edge.

Paired with the mad omniscience of Moriarty is a sharp witted RuPaul Charles, not seen in normal outlandish transvestite garb, with the engaging Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise) in a small role as a lipstick lesbian.

This cute, 50's ish winking satire has a colored commercialization to it; but all of the stylized mores keep the harried Lyonne on the sidelines, unable to let her true, well grounded colors shine through the same sex schlock.

 
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But I'm a Cheerleader
 
 
 
D+
 
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