The seventeen-year-old girls who want to compete in the 50th Sarah Rose Cosmetics American Teen Princess regional contest long for the excitement and romanticism that winning promises. They hail from Mount Rose, Minnesota, the small-town backdrop of DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, where the girls are honing their skills in tap dance, dramatic monologue, dancing while signing for the deaf, and singing the praises of, and dancing with, a stuffed Jesus doll attached to a large cross on wheels. The story is told from the point of view of a documentary camera crew filming the regional run-up to the State and National competitions, the camera monitoring the in-fighting, the handicapping by townfolk, the speculation about payoffs, suspicious actions by judges, and, finally, mysterious deaths of competitors and their supporters -- ruled "accidental" by police who are clearly on the take. Gladys Leeman (Kirstie Alley) is the mom who herself was crowned American Teen Princess years back and now presides over the contest, a woman who has clearly bribed the judges and killed competitors to clear the way to victory for her polished but heartless daughter, Becky (the gleeful Denise Richards). The whole town knows that Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst) is the most talented and deserving among the contestants. She's the daughter of Annette, a trailer park drunk (played with relish by Ellen Barkin). Amber goes to school, practices dance, and works at the funeral home, cheerfully applying makeup to corpses. She's an underdog in life and in the contest, but she has the fervent support of her mom's pal, Loretta (Allison Janney), who escorts her everywhere after Gladys bombs Amber's trailer and sends Mom to the hospital with third degree burns and a beer can seared to her right hand. All bad guys, including the sponsors of the contest, receive their just desserts in the end.