But I'm a Cheerleader

Bomb Rating: 

There's an exposure point where a thing just becomes a sad mockery of itself, and "But I'm a Cheerleader" marks that point for gay film.

Look, I'm just thrilled to death (I'm using the term "thrilled" in a very relative way) that the homosexual and transgendered communities are getting such broad coverage in the independent film industry, but there's an exposure point where a thing just becomes a sad mockery of itself, and "But I'm a Cheerleader" marks that point for gay film.

Everything this film does diminishes the seriousness of any point it might be trying to make. Basically, the goal is to make homosexual reprogramming look silly. How hard is that exactly? Do you actually have to try? Anyone with a modicum of common sense already knows perfectly well what a colony of jackasses those people are, so what's the point in satirizing them? Let them do it themselves -- they're already better at it then anyone else.

But that's apparently not good enough for director Jamie Babbit, so you get this odd mixture of "Leave it to Beaver" and "Better Than Chocolate." Since Megan (Natasha Lyonne) lives in that hybrid world, she's a lesbian but doesn't really know it. She's a cheerleader, but since she doesn't like kissing her boyfriend and has a poster of Melissa Etheridge in her room (something every lesbian has, incidentally), her parents send her off to get reprogrammed at a camp run by Mary (Cathy Moriarty) and Mike (RuPaul). I suppose the point of having RuPaul play a man is to show how obvious it is he's not straight. Unfortunately, you'd have to be blind and deaf not to get the joke.

This film ends in conventional Hollywood fashion, which doubles the insult. After realizing she would really prefer the shag carpet to the hardwood flooring, Megan falls for Graham (Clea Duvall). From there on, it's a boring, stereotypical plot featuring all the predictable twists and turns except that the lovers are lesbians. Babbit seems to forget that the type of people who should see this film are exactly the ones who don't go within a mile radius of an art house theater. The rest of us get treated to, ironically enough, condescending preaching.

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