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DIE, MOMMIE, DIE!

A homage to the melodramas that starred Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, this campy comedy puts a drag queen in the leading role: Charles Busch, who adapted the screenplay from his stage play. Washed-up singer Angela Arden kills her husband (Philip Baker Hall) to be with her lover, who’s played with studied (and often hilarious) woodenness by Beverly Hills 90210 alum Jason Priestley. Freudian situations abound, like Angela’s unusual closeness to her crazy son and the way her daughter (Natasha Lyonne) has a crush on both her father and her mother’s boyfriend. Busch is often hilarious, and he’s pretty convincing as a woman with a diabolical streak, but Mark Rucker’s direction seems awkward and static. And since the camp was built into Hollywood melodramas, this kind of lampooning seems superfluous. Susan Sontag said that pure camp has to be unintentional; given the choice between a classic like The Women and Die, Mommie, Die!, you’d have to agree.


Issue Date: October 31 - November 6, 2003
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