Tuesday, April 27, 2004

My DVD of Girls Will Be Girls arrived in the post yesterday and it's so good. I am a sucker for films about showbiz that focus on women as the lead characters (Valley of the Dolls, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Sunset Boulevard, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) and Girls Will Be Girls is a kind of sick, drag-queen take on these films. We have 1) has-been Evie Harris, whose career high came with B-movie flop Asteroid. Evie is a decrepit, drunken, selfish, deluded, slutty bitch: "I've had more children pulled out of me than a burning orphanage!" 2) Coco Peru - her permanently bitter companion/servant. Life hasn't been good to Coco - her singing career failed to take off and she's lived in Evie's shadow for most of her life. She goes through the film on a razor-edge of barely disguised rage and hatred for all around her. It's got so bad that she's cutting off her own toe with a nail-file and she doesn't know why. 3) Varla Jean Merman - a wide-eyed and wide-hipped ingenue who wants to make it big and will stoop to any lengths. Varla has a gorgeous wardrobe, although most of her clothes still retain their security tags on them for some unexplained reason.

The film contains a lot of gross-out humour (abortion, dead dogs, small penises and farting being typical areas under examination), but its strength is in the characterisation of the actresses and their detailed histories. We get to see clips from Evie's movie (complete with bad continuity, forgotten lines and shaky camera work) and the house is littered with photos from her past including her Christmas Special "A Christmas Evie". A full gallery can be found here. The film's look is also great - Evie's house is a homage to kitsch with garishly mismatched walls, retro furniture and even a "Bicentenial" bedroom. The film climaxes when Evie mortages her house to buy airtime on a tv station in the middle of the night so she can relaunch herself. This "Specimerical" (a mixture of a "Special" and a "commercial") is doomed to failure - particularly because someone has spiked Evie's pre-show cocktail with LSD, triggering a bizarre flashback to a 1970s pool party... I love it.

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