Good , But It Is Overrated By Some
Story: It's very simple but honestly that is fine.
The movie's neither hopeful in contrived ways, nor hopeless in different contrived ways. Somehow it manages to be wonderful
There are moments in this movie where the great movie it could've been peek out... They're fleeting, here, but they're worth savoring, and they happen often enough to make it worth your while.
A catholic teenage cheerleader is sent by her parents to a reform school for queers before she herself even realizes that she is one.Even if it is a broad comedy where everyone is gullible and has an IQ of 90 at best, it doesn't seem right that the vast majority of the jokes in a "pro-gay" film do little else but to confirm all the homosexual stereotypes. All the adults in the film are obsessed with the sexual orientation of the kids which is part of the satire, this is one thing, but the film itself seems equally obsessed with it all the time, including the many scenes that don't feature any adults. Everything the kids do seems to relate to their sexual orientation, not even for a minute are they shown being, you know, just human beings.But the bigger problem is that it is simply not a good or very fun movie. All the characters are incredibly inconsistent and you'll struggle to find anything clever in the plotting or in the humor which is kind of cute, inoffensive, and rarely particularly funny.It's also not believable for a minute. The reform school is lead by two "teachers" who don't have the least bit of authority. They rely on the teenagers' good-will to pay any attention to their rules and lessons or to even stay at the camp, and paying attention they sure do even when they don't even want to be "healed" (half the time the kids want to become straight, half the time they don't, it changes from scene to scene).In the end 'But I'm a Cheerleader' seems more like an excuse for the set designers, the costume designers and the makeup artists to go full camp. It's nowhere near impressive enough in those regards that one could actually call the film stylish, but along with the actors who have fun playing their stereotypes it's probably the main thing that keeps the film entertaining enough to be at least quite watchable.
But I'm a Cheerleader is a movie with an intriguing premise, a dissection of the total absurdity of the ex-gay movement and broader issues of the harsh face of religious fundamentalism. It's also the kind of movie bound to become a cult favourite. I say it's intriguing even though I'm a straight male. The comedy is about Megan, a cheerleader baffled when her family and "friends" spring an intervention on her, to address her suspected lesbianism. They have stupid reasons (she's a vegetarian), but it is true she's more interested in the female form than kissing her boyfriend- they're right. Megan is sent to camp designed to "cure" homosexuals, but falls in love with another girl, Graham.The movie, while cute and colourful with a lot of good points, isn't exactly hilarious as a comedy. There are a few snickers here and there, but nothing major. There's also not a lot of eroticism, in spite of being about lesbianism- that's not what this movie is for. Mainly, it's more of a message movie, espousing values of tolerance, honesty, and love. There's some refuting stereotypes, even though it was stereotypes that led to Megan's family correctly detecting she's gay. On a side note, this movie was also subjected to a ridiculous NC-17 rating, for a scene where Megan masturbates- but it's through her clothes, we see *nothing*. This came the same year American Pie (and its trailer) featured a teenage boy having sex with a pie. The double standard is appalling, evidence of either homophobia or a disgust with female pleasure. Ultimately, this movie fell victim to the old attitudes it's trying to address.
Essentially, this movie is a fun time and a good coming-out movie for those young members of the LGBT community, or older ones still trying to figure out their identity. The movie chronicles a group of LGBT teenagers sent to an ex-gay camp by their unacceptable parents. It's good for those struggling with their identity, or perhaps LGBT people just looking for a good laugh. I'm not sure if I can recommend this for the heterosexual community at large, mostly because I reiterate the comment about it being a little campy and at time it seems corny and more like a low-budget film if you're not interested in the subject matter. I found it a little awkward at times, especially with one sex scene of course. So a little corny and a little dorky, but overall the movie is feel-good, funny, and a great commentary for those of the LGBT community. I enjoyed it overall!
To many viewers this is probably not much more than a well-made, feel-good satirical comedy about teenage homosexuality and adult homophobia mixed with some heart-warming moments, and indeed it serves that function of somewhat superficial entertainment well. But it is a lot more than that. If you watch carefully, this is an incredibly honest, revealing and touchingly sensitive film on teenage identity crisis and identity search interacting with social influences. It tells you more than any psychology book could tell on adolescence, because one cannot put all that into words. Natasha Lyonne as 17 year old Megan (the heroine of the story) demonstrates amazing qualities of acting in a role which is probably the most demanding any actor or actress can face: that of a changing adolescent personality re-discovering one's inner, formerly suppressed unconscious self over two months, while still remaining herself in a way. If you compare her different faces at different phases of the story, e.g. when she "just cannot think of anything" at the camp, and when she looks into the bathroom mirror much later in the film washing her teeth, you will see what I mean. If you are not distracted by hilariously funny bits and jokes and you do not consider poor acting by Cathy Moriarty, it is in fact a top quality drama made superbly. Intimate conversations between the two leading actors (Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall) tell more in one minute of this film about life than most movie star celebrities do throughout their whole career. Natasha Lyonne should have received an Oscar for this as best actress, and she should have been offered leading roles in less superficial films than "American Pie". A talent wasted. Her performance in this film is an extraordinary achievement and a very touching experience for anyone sensitive enough to resonate to it. I highly recommend it for re-watching it several times: you will not get bored if you are attentive enough.