Kirsten Dunst plays an aspiring teen beauty queen in Drop Dead Gorgeous, a movie that thankfully has nothing to do with the abysmal Drop Dead Fred but that does boast a pretty good cast... or at least a cast that is able to spoof a beauty pageant in a small town.
Drop Dead Gorgeous looks at beauty pageants from the perspective of most people in the United States, as not much more than a way for pretty girls to boast their features (although, really, the major pageants have a lot of distinguishing women, but not hot women). One of the judges is obviously fascinated with the girls' most obvious feature, when he should be looking a foot higher, at their brain. Another judge drags his retarded son around (I use "retarded" instead of "mentally disabled" probably because that Gorgeous has made me think that politically incorrect is okay... well, it is funny). Dunst plays a pretty normal character, but her loose Minnesota Fargo accent mixed with the exuberance she displayed in Bring it On, makes for some interesting moments. Denise Richards is another beauty contestant, who will go to any lengths to ensure her victory (including killing?). And then there's her mom, the organizer of the pageant (Kirstie Alley), who is... different.
The movie plays out in documentary style, which, much like Best in Show, allows itself to jump around a lot. Half of the comedy is derived from the way the movie moves from one place to another, catching zany moment after zany moment. Still, Best in Show is assembled a little better than this one, which could have easily been done by an amateur had he lots of money. Nevertheless, the movie is pretty funny.
The only thing that really hurts Drop Dead Gorgeous is that it does have a few strangely dark moments (it has to live up to its name, right?), although they are played out in a way that is almost comical. In one scene, near the end, a reporter gets shot, giving Dunst a chance at making it big on television. In another scene, her mom (played by Ellen Barkin) is nearly blown up, but she escapes relatively unscathed, except for a beer can melded to her hand. Yes, you heard me right.
Drop Dead Gorgeous isn't a fabulous movie, but it is well worth the hour and a half, as long as you like movies that play off stupidity.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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