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But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

A comedy of sexual disorientation.

Directed by:

Jamie Babbit

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 89 minutes

On DVD

Country: United States

Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, an apparently normal teenager at high school. She appears to have it all – she is one of the school's best cheerleaders and is going steady with the captain of the football team. However, her friends and family have been noticing strange things about Natasha. She doesn't seem to like kissing her boyfriend, the posters in her locker and on her bedroom walls all feature girls, and she's even a vegetarian. Her concerned parents Peter and Nancy (Bud Cort and Mink Stole) are committed Christians and want to solve the problem of Natasha's behaviour once and for all.

One day Natasha comes home to find her family and friends have conspired against her and called in 'True Directions', a kind of therapy for homosexuals. Under the care of the group's founder Mary J Brown (Cathy Moriarty) and her 'ex-gay' assistant Mike (RuPaul Charles), Natasha will learn how to be a 'real woman'. However, she will also have to explore her sexual choices for real. Ultimately, at 'True Directions' Natasha will discover others who have the same gender preferences, especially her new lesbian friend Graham (Clea DuVall), and eventually will have to decide who she really wants to be.

This touching and funny romantic comedy is full of charming characters and situations, and shows the futility of seeking a 'cure' for someone that isn't ill in the first place. The plot and execution are outstanding, and the characters appealing. The infamous RuPaul is wonderful in this rare straight role, and Cathy Moriarty is perfect as the well-meaning but wholly out-of-touch pro-hetero zealot. Natasha Lyon does a great job of playing the confused teenager who is trying to be what her parents and friends expect while discovering who she really is. Although the subject matter will not appeal to all, those who choose to watch this film are likely to be pleasantly surprised.

It's Got: Some very funny moments and much to think about.

It Needs: To be watched with an open mind.

DVD Extras Interesting but limited extras with this basic single-disc release. Extras: Director interview, Behind the scenes, Trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Alternatives:

Beautiful Thing, Chasing Amy, Edge of Seventeen.

Summary

Touching and funny comedy of teenage sexual personal discovery and the journey to self-awareness. Perhaps not for everyone, but will please an unexpected number of people.

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