HTX0811 posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 6 months ago

Drop Dead Gorgeous


Directed by: Michael Patrick Jann
Written by: Lona Williams
Cast: Kirstie Alley, Ellen Barkin, Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Brittany Murphy, Allison Janney, Will Sasso, Amy Adams
Studio: New Line Cinema
Genre: Comedy
Official Site:
Plot: A series of bizarre events occur at a Minnesota beauty pageant.


I’m not going to lie: the only reason I even bothered giving Drop Dead Gorgeous a try is because I saw a trailer on Starz! (when Starz used to have a ! in the title) one night and I thought that Denise Richards looked pretty nice and that’s about it and I’m pretty comfortable with that nowadays. I even convinced myself in the proudest moment of my childhood in which I convinced my mom, who used to take me everywhere with her, to let me stay home for the Starz! Saturday premiere happening that same night with only my grandma watching me. I mean, some coworker of my mom I don’t know’s wedding doesn't even come close to witnessing Denise Richards on my screen. I think I’ve mentioned this and my love for this movie before so this probably won’t come as a surprise to some. The movie seems to have aged very well over the years as they are enough laughs to get out of it during its run time..

The movie is set in 1995 during an annual beauty pageant in Mount Rose, Minnesota, where Rebecca Ann Leeman (Denise Richards), is destined to win due to their large reputations in the town due to her mother, Gladys (Kirstie Alley), being a former pageant winner. That is until a young girl named Amber Atkins, a trailer park and works as a makeup artist for a funeral home enters the competition to follow in the follow in the footsteps of her mother. Kirsten Dunst is really adorable in this and makes Amber character really rootable. To my surprise, I ended having a big crush on her in this movie instead of Denise Richards. Even her admiration for Diane Sawyer is hard to be against and i always am hoping to be the next Diane Sawyer every time I watch this. She’s not the funniest character but she serves her purpose as to show why should be a great pick for the title. I’ve actually watched these pageants on TV because my mom always likes them and most of the time, they sound rehearsed and fake but when Amber is talking, I’m like I believe she actually means the things she says. Even though, it’s a 1999 Kirsten Dunst and like a heterosexual human male, something in your body would naturally react to her attractiveness. But the movie has the smarts to have her have some setbacks to get through without making it feel like misery for us and the character to witness. She just has a chipper attitude about everything even when things get tough like when other contestants start getting killed but it’s not so annoyingly chipper that she could be a cute squirrel meme personified. Her mom’s best friend Loretta played by Allison Janney made for a great to her because of how crazy she was but she actually was a sweet person that was willing to help her. Plus, she was kind of hot in this movie in a Jerry Springer kind of way. Maybe this is where my start of women with big eyes begin because something about her and the cut offs was doing it for me.

Lookit, I’ve been watching Cheers a lot on Netflix recently since I was a sperm for most of it’s run and it was recommended by some people on here. I have to say that Kirstie Alley is a national treasure on that show even if her arc is kinda annoying and wheel spinning and we shouldn’t have slept on her just because she doesn’t look like how she used to look or Scientology or whatever it was. I mostly knew her from Look Who’s Talking and most of that is LOL Talking Babies: The Movie and she’s okay in those but let’s be honest, it’s about the LOL talking babies. This recent revisit of this movie and Cheers proved that she’s great on another level that I never realized before. As Gladys Leeman, she’s very reserved and it’s great for what the movie is asking of her. It fits her character. But looking at it, she’s basically Rebecca Howe and it’s too bad she never really got to play that note over and over again because it’s a note she plays well. When she explodes, it can probably result in some of the funniest moments I’ve seen. Being a ticking time bomb is something she’s great at. Like the part at the end when a certain event with a swan happens, I never stop busting out laughing at her delivery. This is in my eyes an Oscar worthy performance in a Oscar worthy movie but only in my version of the Oscars where Ferris Bueller also won Best Picture in 1986 and Home Alone, Problem Child, and Goodfellas would be 1990 Best Picture noms. I know what I just typed and yes, I actually wrote that last sentence non-ironically. Anyway, Her arc as a character feels like an effective slow burn and it’s to her credit why it works so well. Even going back and seeing how things play out, this has the character design of someone that could make a great lead of a House of Cards-esque drama.

Denise Richards as expected is pretty hot but not the star that Starz! In the commercial told me. It’s actually more of an ensemble piece than a Kirsten Dunst vs. Denise Richards movie that I thought it was. I mean, there’s still a part of that movie in here but there’s so much more to it than that. She’s very very believable as one of the antagonists for the movie as Rebecca. She actually seems like a reasonable suspect for a lot of it as the movie does a nice job at making her a red herring and it’s easy to hate her because she has everything handed to her and feels she is superior because of it. She’s such a bitch and she does it so well and gives a solid performance. It’s your typical highschool queen bee character and Richards does it so effective to a point. There’s also that Jesus music number she has that’s so ridiculous and wrong in so many ways.

Brittany Murphy is also in this as one of the other contestants, Lisa, and I’m sad that she can’t be around to do stuff anymore. I would kill to hear that cute laugh she has again and like Dunst, it’s hard to not have some attraction. She’s seems like an actually cool and fun person. Seriously, her laugh is one of my favorite things ever. When she laughs, it seems like a genuine thing the character would do in those moments. There’s something about her as an actress that she just comes across like a person I would want to be boyfriends and girlfriends with or even if she put me in the friend zone, I’d be okay with that because she’s too cool to not be around. Like the part where they go to interview her is really adorable because I really believed she would be that close to her gay brother and she seems to really love talking to the camera guys as if they’re actual real people. There’s something about her that’s just so genuine and sweet in these earlier performances like this and Clueless that it’s too bad that she didn’t live long enough to have a Dunst-esque renaissance where she gets to be in in season 2 of Fargo in a mini-reunion and be in cool indie movies for the rest of her career. It’s also too bad that she’s not in this too long but when at least she leaves this movie, she makes it memorable.

Director Michael Patrick Jann does a pretty solid job handling the material and making it flow very well. This probably served him well as he went on to do Reno 911! and that show was one of the funniest shows for me growing up. Also he was part of the State of MTV’s The State! Yeah, I know I’m too young to know that was a thing but it was expected that a movie directed by a guy who breathed the same air as Officer Dangle and Stella had to be silly and fun to watch. Much like that show, he handles the mockumentary structure of the movie well and is very good at keeping up with the world building thanks to a fantastic script by Lona Williams, who also has a funny role as one of the other judges with no lines. It’s too bad this woman has very little to her credits because she probably could’ve written other funny movies. The cast does a really solid job and a lot of them have great comedic timing regardless of how big or small the role is. It’s nice to see even a lot of the smaller characters do get their chance to have their moments and have a funny line when they get a chance. Overall, this makes for a nice 97 minutes and moves pretty nicely. It feels very 90’s without doing it in the most overt and unsubtle ways possible. It’s more about the feeling than showing the 1995ness of it. This is still a very funny movie and it’s always nice to revisit any chance I get. You don’t got to have lady parts or watch beauty pageants to like it. It’s very broad and silly but in the best way possible.