Just when I think my tolerance for mockumentaries has ended a movie like 1999’s Drop Dead Gorgeous drops into my lap (really DVD player) via Em’s friend from work. I remember when this movie came out, I don’t think it was out for too long, but a few of my friends went to see it when I was working or something and they reported back that it wasn’t very good. Sorry friends, you’re wrong.
DDG has a very Christopher Guest-like feel to it, but with a crispness that his films tend to lack. And you can thank writer Lona Williams (who also plays the third pageant judge) and director Michael Patrick Jann who directed a bunch of State and Reno 911 episodes. The story takes a documentary look at a small town beauty pageant that’s very clearly rigged. There also seems to be a high mortality and injury rate for any contestant who isn’t Denise Richards.
Our hero is Kristen Dunst who is just a sweet young lady. Too bad for her she’s competing against Denise Richards, whose mom (Kirstie Alley) won back in the day. She’s also married to one of the richest dudes in town, so they kind of run things.
A big part of the humor comes from the small town atmosphere, kind of like Napoleon Dynamite, but way less out there. There’s also a great amount of black humor as the slowish townsfolk don’t catch on to the incredibly obvious murder plot unfolding around them. Even the cops.
Another big source of fun for me was checking out all the stars in the flick. Aside from Kirsten and Denise, you’ve also got Ellen Barkin, Allison Janney, Brittany Murphy, Nora Dunn, Will Sasso, Thomas Lennon and ADAM WEST! The girl who played Bruce Willis’ daughter who also dated Ross on Friends is in there as well (yeah, I’m a closet Friends fan). Everyone really sold their roles and seemed to have fun doing this really funny movie.
I’ve never been a fan of Denise Richards, but even she’s pretty good in this and Dunst freaking shines. I’m a huge Bring It On fan and love her in that. And I checked out Virgin SuicidesVirgin Suicides earlier this year which she was amazing in and of course Interview With a Vampire. Man, what happened to her? Maybe my intense dislike of Spider-Man 2 and 3 has tainted my view of Ms. Dunst, which is really too bad because she’s awesome. I also really dug Brittany Murphy. Her roll was small, but she played the crazy local girl with awesome flair and abandon. She freaking steals the show every time she’s on screen.
It’s also satisfying as our hero eventually gets what’s coming to her as do the villains. But it doesn’t have a typical Hollywood ending, it’s actually pretty funny. All in all, this movie is definitely worth checking out. It’s funny and actually does the mockumentary genre justice unlike a lot of movies nowadays. If you’re into Reno 911, Christopher Guest movies or dig any of the above actresses, this is definitely the movie for you.