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I'm a sucker for movies that go out of their way to be politically incorrect; perhaps that is why I liked DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. DROP DEAD GORGEOUS ($25) is an always offensive, but sometimes hilarious "mockumentary" that takes one behind-the-scenes at a teenage beauty pageant in small town America. Set in the community of Mount Rose, Minnesota, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS records the events of a local annual event- the Sarah Rose Princess America Pageant. Heading up the pageant committee is Gladys Leeman (Kirstie Alley), a former winner, who is now pushing her own daughter, Becky (Denise Richards), for the title.

While the documentary cameras roll, several other pageant hopefuls meet with strange "accidents," leaving Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst) as Becky's only serious competitor. As you might expect, even is not left unscathed by the rash of "accidents" connected to the Mount Rose competition. A mysterious explosion destroys Amber's trailer home and leaves her mother Annette (Ellen Barkin) with a beer can fused to her hand. Of course, the pageant is Amberís only way out of the trailer park, so the poor girl decides to persevere and hopes that she can avoid any further "accidents." DROP DEAD GORGEOUS is filled with twisted moments that take pot shots at everything, including the win at and cost mentality associated with beauty pageants and white trash America. There are times that DROP DEAD GORGEOUS pushes the limits of bad taste by going after one sacred cow after another. However as I said above, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS is the kind of movie that goes out of its way to be offensive to everybody, so if you are thin skinned, you probably won't enjoy much of the film's humor. The cast of DROP DEAD GORGEOUS also features Sam McMurray, Mindy Sterling, Brittany Murphy, William Sasso, Lona Williams, Nora Dunn and Adam West.

Even though the film doesn't rate a Platinum Series release, New Line Home Video has done their typical great job with their DVD edition of DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. The DVD features both full screen and anamorphic enhanced wide screen presentations of the film, each on a separate layer of this single sided disc. If you are into that cable TV experience, you'll find no faults with the full screen presentation. Everyone else will want to catch DROP DEAD GORGEOUS in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. As you might expect from a New Line DVD, the 16:9 enhanced transfer is drop dead gorgeous. The image is sharp and highly detailed, with nary a fault to be found. Color reproduction is stellar, with all of the strong colors being flawlessly recreated. Flesh tones are exceedingly healthy and there are no problems with either chroma noise or bleeding. Blacks are true black and the image has clean, smooth contrast throughout the presentation. Digital compression artifacts never rear their ugly heads.

DROP DEAD GORGEOUS features a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack, but the mix tends to be somewhat limited. After all, what kind of documentary would this be, if the sound mix called attention to itself? Most of the sonic activity is localized in the forward soundstage, which is where it should be. The sound is clean and well reproduced. Of course, since this is a "mockumentary," the sound is far better than that of an actual low budget documentary. The bass channel kicks in on occasion and it provides an effective bottom end to key moments of the film. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

The interactive menus contain animation and sound, plus they feature a goofy design that is in keeping with the content of the film. Through the menus on can access the standard scene selection and setup features, as well as the disc's extras. A theatrical trailer, plus cast/crew filmographies are provided on the DVD as supplement. DROP DEAD GORGEOUS is also DVD-ROM enabled, offering access to the film's screenplay.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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