Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Brittany Murphy, Amy Adams, Kirstie Alley
Synopsis: A documentary crew follow the contestants participating in a beauty pageant in small-town Minnesota, but things get deadly when someone starts killing the competition.
If I were to sum up my sense of humour it would be with the phrase “gallows humour.” I can find even the most traumatic experiences funny. Some may say it’s because I’m a twisted individual. I, however, prefer to think that it’s because I always like to turn negative situations into positive ones. True character is shown if you can look in the face of death and laugh. There are not many films that manage to cater to gallows humour very well, and it’s easy to see why. It’s difficult to strike the appropriate balance between being morbid and funny but, in my honest opinion, this film hits the nail on the head.
Drop Dead Gorgeous wasn’t received very well when it was first released. That, too, is easy to see why. The film is set in a small town in Minnesota, a town in which the biggest event of the year is a teen beauty pageant. The citizens of this town are God fearing folk with funny accents. When I lived in the US I lived in California so I didn’t really come into contact with these kind of people but, rest assured, they exist. The purpose of this film is to take the piss out of these people and this version of America.
I personally believe that a lot of Americans are ashamed by this kind of America and Drop Dead Gorgeous can hit close to home. However, I think that in itself is pretty funny. After all, I’ve never met a British person who didn’t like this movie. However, Americans shouldn’t be so sensitive because this movie also displays a lot of the positive things about living in America too; namely that with hard work and a little bit of talent you can achieve your wildest dreams.
It helps that the film gives us a character we can all rally behind. Kirsten Dunst plays Amber Atkins, a beautiful and intelligent trailer-trash girl with big dreams. She’s the sort of girl who can name all 50 states in alphabetical order while working two part-time jobs. She’s nice to everyone she meets and she can dance. She’s the everyman who is fighting against power and corruption. What’s not to love?
It’s not all about Dunst though. Every performer in this film gives it their all. The mockumentary style really works because it allows all the performers to get lost in their characters. These are characters that you love to love and love to hate. Brittany Murphy’s character in particular is so hysterically adorable and it makes me sad to think that she’s no longer around. If anything, this film displays the talents of a lot of actresses and their ability to deliver well-scripted comedy as though it were them speaking naturally. Even Denise Richards pulls it off and we all know she’s not the greatest actress around.
- Brilliant performances and wonderfully weird characters.
- “You know what dad? Peter’s gay….GGGAAAAAYYYY!!!” This film is so quotable.
- “They’re the richest family in a small town. It’s front page news when one of them takes a shit.” See what I mean.
- Great soundtrack.
- I always used to think the Soylent Green scene was funny but I actually realise now that it has a purpose.
- Realising that you will be going to hell for laughing at an anorexic girl lip synching to ‘Don’t Cry Out loud’ by Melissa Manchester.
In my eyes, Drop Dead Gorgeous is comedy gold. It’s got great performances and moments that have me wiping away tears that came from laughing too hard. Moreover, it provides you with quotes for life. If you’re the sort of person who can find the humour in life’s darkest moments then this is just the film for you.