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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 29.82%
Average: 12.28%
Pretty Bad: 3.51%
Total Crap: 12.28%

4 reviews, 33 user ratings

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Die Mommie Die!
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by EricDSnider

"A great 10-minute sketch, packed into 90 minutes."
3 stars

An amalgamation of films like "Mommie Dearest" and "Sunset Boulevard," "Die Mommie Die!" is a campy gay comedy that will be an acquired taste for viewers. At the press screening I attended at the Sundance Film Festival, several audience members laughed all the way through, in particular at nearly everything spoken by the lead character, aging songstress Angela Arden, who is played by Charles Busch, in drag.

Other viewers, including me, found the arch dialogue amusing at first but eventually tiresome. Angela Arden would be hysterical in a series of five-minute "Saturday Night Live" sketches; Busch, who wrote the film based on his play, plays her with enviable flair and pitch-perfect melodrama, evoking the spirits of people like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Susan Hayward. But with a flimsy plot and a reliance on "aren't-we-naughty?" gay jokes, a feature-length film quickly becomes insufferable.

Set in the 1960s, and perfectly imitating the dialogue of the movies of that era, the film finds Angela Arden at the end of her career. Her sister and singing partner Barbara died years ago. Her unloving producer husband, Sol (Philip Baker Hall), won't grant her a divorce, even though he knows she's carrying on with studly young bad actor Tony Parker (Jason Priestley). Her daughter, Edith (Natasha Lyonne), hates her. Her son, Lance (Stark Sands), loves her but is dumb as a rock and rather confused these days about his sexuality.

Angela kills Sol and makes it look like an accident, but soon everyone is suspicious. Tony, with an agenda of his own, begins affairs with both of Angela's children, while the know-it-all maid Bootsie (Frances Conroy) interferes and offers platitudes.

The cast is fully committed to the style Busch and director Mark Rucker are going for, but they simply can't sustain the laughs for the whole movie. Busch wrote "Psycho Beach Party" (2000), too, and that film had a similar uneven feel to it. You admire their dedication to what they've chosen to do; you just wonder why it has to drag on for 90 minutes.

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originally posted: 01/31/03 14:38:29
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/25/08 David Fowler Busch is absolute genius. Hilarious, a virtually perfect parody. 5 stars
10/31/06 Charles Tatum Toothless satire 2 stars
7/30/04 Bucky n Wiz Campy, Hilarious, Wonderful homage to Actresses who actually knew how to Act 5 stars
7/28/04 Elizabeth Extremely entertaining with an interesting story. 4 stars
1/29/04 dirk A tour d'force" Angela arden is a screen legend 5 stars
1/19/04 Theaterlover Best Comedy Of The Year 5 stars
12/02/03 Baf A great film for a sophisticated audience 5 stars
12/01/03 J B Not for those who want the standard, formulaic movie tripe 4 stars
11/30/03 Thomas Go see this film. You'll laugh your ass off. It's really cool for the under 30 audience. 5 stars
11/18/03 Alex Very funny spoof of Joan Crawford, et al. 5 stars
11/16/03 Lee Summers Great movie -- Charles Busch is a genius 5 stars
11/13/03 Lorne die mommy die was boring, Jason Priestley sucks. 2 stars
11/11/03 Mike Was laughing the whole time. Sands & Priestly are both very hot in this show 5 stars
11/04/03 Andy Incredibly funny, soft lighting is the best, go see it, its awesome 5 stars
11/04/03 Josser I've not seen a rather hilarious campy gay movie in quite some time. This is worth it 5 stars
11/03/03 Ben cheap sets and uneven story flow 3 stars
11/01/03 liz johnson STARK SANDS: Remember the name. Awesome talent 5 stars
11/01/03 X XC 5 stars
10/31/03 xan taylor Prediction: Stark Sands is the next Tom Cruise 5 stars
10/22/03 Nimh BRILLIANT A very quirky and unique film. Priestley & Busch are particularly funny. 5 stars
10/04/03 mark davis stark sands is a hot little number 4 stars
7/15/03 Jim Smith Lighting, makeup and costumes ... and a great script! 5 stars
6/18/03 Thomas Saw it again in S.F.This movie has to win an Oscar! 5 stars
3/27/03 leah Funny, funny, funny! Jason Priestley is totally funny & hot!!! 5 stars
1/29/03 natasha petrich verry nice,specially the photography 5 stars
1/28/03 kitty saw it at sundance. cant wait to take all my friends! 5 stars
1/27/03 Scott Howard Busch is a genius- his Sundance Best Actor award is well deserved. 5 stars
1/27/03 Adam Little Perfectly cheesy. 4 stars
1/26/03 Thomas This was sensational. Will be a huge crossover hit, and play malls! 5 stars
1/26/03 Sarah An absolute riot. Can't wait to own it, so I can watch over and over. 5 stars
1/24/03 Busch Fan Amazing. The kind of film I will know by heart. 5 stars
1/24/03 Greg Evans My sister shot it. I saw it's premier. I laughed a lot and groaned a little. It is fun! 4 stars
1/23/03 Sean I never laughed once and name this the worst comedy I have ever seen. 1 stars
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  31-Oct-2003 (R)
  DVD: 29-Jun-2004



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