A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that many of the characters in this movie are drag queens, although as is typical in movies of this kind, they're portrayed as non-sexual. Parents should also know that characters use some strong language and there are some double entrendre sexual references and crude jokes involving tampons and a "sit on my face" insult. Characters respond to a stressful situation by deciding to get drunk and much of the action takes place in a bar. A character is a drug dealer and the response to accidental use of cocaine is portrayed as humorous. A character is a hitman and there is one murder (off camera). There are fights, mostly comic. A strength of the movie is that prejudice against drag queens and anyone who is different is an important theme.
What's the story?
Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense and Muriel's Wedding) play best friends who dream of starring in dinner theater productions of Broadway shows. Instead, they are waitresses at an O'Hare airport restaurant who get to belt out tunes to stranded travelers in between taking orders. After witnessing their boss' murder one night, Connie and Carla have to hide. So they disguise themselves as drag queens and get a job performing in a nightclub.
Is it any good?
CONNIE AND CARLA is a bright and colorful door-slamming farce with the always-reliable gender-switching theme. It worked for Shakespeare, Some Like it Hot, and Tootsie, and if this movie doesn't hit that level, it's way above flops like Sorority Boys and Juwanna Mann. The movie's directed by Michael Lembeck, whose experience with Friends keeps the pace so brisk that there isn't much time to notice the parts that don't work. The plot is nothing new -- Lucy and Ethel would be right at home -- but there are some good lines given maximum punch by a strong cast.
David Duchovny's low-key charm works well in the midst of all of the over-the-top emoting, but it is a shame that the plot requires him to be so squeamish about his brother's lifestyle. The movie's biggest weakness is its attempt to be just too, too good to the last drop, sprinkling self-esteem over every person who comes on screen like, well, fairy dust. This movie is going to make sure you get the message. Like the two main characters, it throws everything at you it can think of, from shameless power ballads to a real old-time movie star. The song and dance routines really are a hoot, delivered with such affectionate sincerity that I dare you not to be entertained. Yet what it does best is what it does most quietly, with some understated humor about how everyone, even a hitman for the mob, is just one showtune away from discovering the transcendent power of dinner theater.
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