Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video
Directed by: Mark Rucker.
Produced by: Dante di Loreto, Anthony Edwards & Bill Kenwright.
Written by: Charles Busch, based on his stageplay.
Director of Photography: Kelly Evans.
Edited by: Philip Harrison.
Music by: Dennis McCarthy.
Released by: Sundance Film Series.
Country of Origin: USA. 94 min. Rated: R.
With: Charles Busch, Jason Priestley, Natasha Lyonne, Philip Baker Hall & Stark Sands.
Like Far From Heaven, this is a glossy homage to the Ross Hunter produced
melodramas of the '50s and '60s, except played for laughs. Charles Busch is the actress
Angela Arden (think Susan Hayward), star of such films as The Song of Marie
Antoinette. She hasn't had a hit in years, but still maintains a regal bearing. Trapped
in an unhappy marriage to aging film producer Sol Sussman (Hall), she has a handsome
gigolo on the side, the well-endowned Tony Parker (Priestley). She sadly admits to Tony
that she has a "green thumb in everything but raising children." Her daughter, daddy’s girl
Edith (Lyonne), hates her, and her son Lance (Sands) - kicked out of college for corrupting
the male faculty - is the bane of his father’s existence. And hovering in the background is
the mysterious death of Angela’s twin sister Barbara.
Die Mommie, Die! is pure camp filled with double-entendres and ripe dialogue.
Angela describes a memory as "lingering like smog over the canyon." Tony warns
Angela, "You can't discard me like one of your false eyelashes." But it’s all frivolity -
there's nothing at stake, even as the plot turns to murder. In a supporting role, Busch has hilariously
appeared in drag in Psycho Beach Party. But this time the illusion
doesn't hold up as well under the camera’s close and constant scrutiny. And in too many
scenes, the actors’ cues aren't picked up. It's as if they are waiting for the laughter while
appearing in an extended skit on The Carol Burnett Show with fleeting full frontal
nudity. Kent Turner