Wealthy fag-hag & drug addict Miss Make Do (Erin Chandler) hangs out with aging southern belle sissy, the nameless narrator, played by diminuative actor Leslie Jordan who wrote the original stage play as well as the screen adaptation for himself. It's an autobiographical tale of the lower depths of the disco era. The disco sissy's "love of a life time" is the seriously damaged but beautiful & butch Tripper (Mark Pellegrino in the film's only seriously well done performance).
Originating as it does as a play, the film retains too many scenes that are talky-preachy-stagy, stilted, actorly-unreal, with one of the worst fundamental errors seen in amateur screenplays, that of having to explain in dialog everything that should have been shown by incident.
Leslie Jordan may have been great on the stage performing it live, but his screen-presence is just too much "minor support role in fabulously lame sitcom" rather than "star of a camp feature comedy with angst." He's the worst possible casting for his own life story if only because he's at least twenty-five years too old to be playing his younger self. A more vital actor might've made the thing more effective, but the only reason this vanity project exists at all is due to Jordan, so his presence in the piece was never escapable.
Most of it is just too tacky for words. But that pathetic & platonic relationship between the sissy narrator & Tripper is twisted enough to be totally convincing. The preachy bits about what it means to be gay in a homophobic world, let alone a crazy-sissy-wimpy-loser of any sexual persuasion, are screechy, simpleminded, self-pitying, excuse-making, tedioiusly didactic, & void of irony or humor. So I thought the film was shitty. And yet that emotionally severe platonic relationship with the butch & wicked but secretly needy junkie Tripper is a type of relationship that does exist & was presented with conviction.
The fag hag Miss Make Do is introduced as though she's going to be a major character but never has much to do. The fringes of the story are populated by similar weirdos from the delusional wheelchair bound drag queen Contessa (Peter Mohawk) to the loopy Christian therapist (John Ritter), but none are quite amusing enough nor at all well developed, so add up to nothing but tiresome dull parodies that could thrive only in some queen's imaginary world.
For some this will seem to be a realistic representation of urban disco faggotry capturing the fashion, self-hate, addictions & vulgarity of a certain time. And it possibly is a fair representation of a particularly low strata of 1970s druggy America. But the film makes so many moronic & shallow bids for sympathy that it sabotages every opportunity for integrity. Whinging is a poor substiutute for honesty. It boils down to congratulatory self-pity with insufficient self-awareness.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl