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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.02%
Average: 13.83%
Pretty Bad: 22.34%
Total Crap: 8.51%

6 reviews, 58 user ratings

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But I'm a Cheerleader
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by EricDSnider

"One joke, poorly executed."
2 stars

"But I'm a Cheerleader" is a film so enamored of its own premise that it never bothers to do anything with it, like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch with a clever joke that's ruined by the fact that it goes on forever.

The funny premise at issue is this: Ordinary suburban high-schooler Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is suspected by her parents and friends of being a lesbian, due to her vegetarianism and penchant for putting Melissa Ethridge posters on her bedroom walls. So they ship her off to "True Directions," a rehabilitation camp for young homosexuals, male and female, run by strict matriarch Mary (Cathy Moriarty), who seems to have started the camp because she's in denial over her own extremely gay son, Rock (Eddie Cibrian).

The thing is, Megan's not gay. At least, she never thought she was before. At the camp, working through a five-step program (admit your problem, identify the cause, etc.), she begins to realize that sure enough, they're right! She IS a lesbian! And she doesn't particularly want to be "cured" of it, either.

That's the big joke, of course, that "True Directions" is more likely to be counterproductive than rehabilitative -- as well is should be, since the idea of "curing" homosexuals is archaic and narrow-minded. (Well, that's what the movie believes, and it assumes we agree with that stance. Those who disagree are not likely to be won over by the film's so-called "satire," which is too sloppy and ham-fisted to be effective.)

After the jokes about would-be reformers surreptitiously winking at each other grow tedious, the film moves on to become a tedious lesbian love story, between Megan and trouble-maker Graham (Clea DuVall). For two-thirds of the film, director Jamie Babbit uses straight-ahead camera angles, squarely framing everything like a comic strip, and backing up that idea with basic colors and broad acting. Then, when the romance begins, it turns into a more serious film. This is a bad idea. Even though the premise was indeed getting very, very old, abandoning it midstream and going for something more Sundance-y doesn't help. It just makes it look like Babbit and screenwriter Brian Wayne Peterson lost faith in their own story.

There are some laughs here, but not many. Casting famed transvestite RuPaul Charles as a cured homosexual who is now a camp counselor (heavy on the "camp") is amusing, as is one girl's explanation for what made her gay: "I was born in France." Aside from that, the hope seems to be that we will keep laughing at the skewering of gay stereotypes and ultra-conservative homophobia. That hope is in vain. This is a topic ripe for parody, but "Cheerleader" is not the film to execute it.

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originally posted: 06/30/03 18:00:06
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User Comments

3/18/16 Dane Youssef This really was a fun movie. A cut-and-notch above most schlocky formula Hollywood junk. 4 stars
12/21/08 Shaun Wallner Great story! 5 stars
11/02/08 Samantha Pruitt great camp, some funny parts, there are some great characters in this. 4 stars
8/19/06 Taylor Fladgate Not the best ending, but c'mon EricDSnider, it was good! 4 stars
6/14/06 Lisa Hilarious!! One of the campest films ever!!! 5 stars
2/07/06 Anthony How is this movie worth watching 1 stars
2/18/05 axe Has all the depth of Addams Family Values, but it was fun! 3 stars
6/26/04 MAB Loving it 5 stars
4/26/04 Cornelia Really cute 4 stars
10/15/03 Summer This is my favourite movie of all time. 5 stars
9/29/03 Anna it's so wonderful. I love "Graham" and the whole move! tanks for it! 5 stars
8/23/03 nr clea did great 5 stars
8/11/03 jen i liked it 4 stars
7/22/03 M. W. I love this movie! 5 stars
4/02/03 me great 5 stars
3/15/03 HE GREAT FILM 5 stars
3/08/03 y2mckay I could have sworn I wrote a review of this. Am I losing my mind? 3 stars
3/04/03 !! A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/26/02 sarah m to reini urban: that's the point, she can't kiss. it's her first lesbian experience. 5 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Natasha was hilarious! 3 stars
9/15/02 sally wally I LOVE CLEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/18/02 Michelle Kenobi Funny and Charming. 4 stars
12/16/01 Flagg_Blackstone Katherine's chacter rules. If she wasn't there I probably wouldn't have liked it. 5 stars
12/04/01 John The mere thought of that fat bitch in an orgasmic state gives me dry heaves 2 stars
11/30/01 Hum great sets, good ideas, bad acting 3 stars
9/08/01 Lindsay FUCKING AMAZING!!!!! I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!! CLEA DUVALL.... RRRRRRR!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/19/01 Reini Urban Nice setting, but she cannot kiss. Bad cast, however gay movies are always funny, pseudo ga 3 stars
8/19/01 jon i luved it 5 stars
8/10/01 Destiny ~_^ I must see it again! ~_^ 5 stars
8/09/01 melissa i'd have liked to see more of katherine towne (sinead...mmmm...), but it was still awesome! 5 stars
7/29/01 Rachel This movie was the She-IT! But I'ma Cheerleader is the greatest film, the greatest I say!!! 5 stars
7/05/01 r-chan (what? you thought I'd give you the REAL one?) Ho-hum. I'd heard that this movie was really great, but it kind of let me down. 4 stars
7/03/01 Alyce & Kate Andre Rocks!!!! Kick ass show!!! 5 stars
6/14/01 lauren i thought it was amazing, and so funny. i even cried. =) clea duvall is definitely hot 5 stars
6/13/01 laurawho7 Best Gay Flick yet!! 5 stars
5/27/01 Stacey This was an amazing movie! Being a lesbian myself I really connected with it! 5 stars
5/26/01 Bada Bing Crosby Thankfully clocks in under 90mins., even that was a struggle. UGH!! 1 stars
5/25/01 Max The best part is the beginning. All those succulent cheerleaders bouncing up and down. 3 stars
5/24/01 Jessica Koala I loved it... and I'm so happy that it was made .. it kicks big fucking ass!!! ;p 5 stars
4/25/01 Monday Morning Not just unfunny, but poorly produced and acted. Waste of time.. 1 stars
4/20/01 Stephen Booth Best film in a long time 5 stars
4/16/01 Candie Barnett It's cool 4 stars
4/09/01 Lindsay It had a really good plot and point, but had too many lame parts stuck in between. 4 stars
3/20/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Bordering on ridiculous,'s all in the name of camp... 4 stars
3/13/01 Johnboy The lesbian scene was pretty cool, but it was all downhill from there 2 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy One-note joke gone an hour and a half too far. 1 stars
1/14/01 chris sucked really bad 1 stars
1/01/01 jen perfect film! great visuals, silly story and brill acting! 5 stars
11/21/00 neil bartlett great idea, but simply isn't funny 2 stars
10/16/00 The Bomb 69 biting satire, funny all the way through, good music as well 5 stars
10/14/00 Leon Trotsky The music puts it over the top. Too cool. 5 stars
10/10/00 Monday Morning This "satire" is lame...cinematography and acting are poor as well. 1 stars
8/25/00 Reverend Krule "Silly Faggot, Dicks are for Chicks" 5 stars
8/18/00 Ryan Phillippe Gets Hit By A Car and It Fuckin Rules! This movie was the most awesome thing that ever happened to me, before the labotomy. 5 stars
8/10/00 pipeman A great idea, but not enough to sustain the entire movie. I got bored. 3 stars
8/09/00 Phag Another case of beating satire to death and ending up with lots of crap 1 stars
8/04/00 Jake Very funny. Has its gay cliche spoofs in it. 5 stars
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  28-Jul-2000 (R)


  16-Nov-2000 (MA)

Directed by
  Jamie Babbit

Written by
  Brian Wayne Peterson

  Natasha Lyonne
  Clea DuVall
  Cathy Moriarty
  Bud Cort
  Mink Stole

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