Drop Dead Gorgeous/B,A-
New Line/1999/98/ANA 1.85

       Taking on two easy targets in one Mocumentary makes for lots of laughs. There's variety of goofy, and often dark humor, provides ample material for a 100 minute thigh-slapper.

Showing off their talent. İNew Line

     The Sarah Rose  Princess America Beauty Pageant is the subject of a team of documentary makers. Descending on Mount Rose, Minnesota, the filmmakers record every aspect of this preliminary contest from the point of view of a town totally focused on the yearly event. The girls and parents desperately champion the success of their kids. The contestants are interviewed for poise, get to perform a solo act and even come together for a grandly inept show-stopping ensemble dance.  Hey, whatever happened to the swim-suit contest. No doubt that would have provided plenty of laugh opportunities. But, the pacing is dead on schedule. Much more and the jokes would have been more than tired. 
     The Mocumentary is just another way of telling a tale. The story-line is somewhat short-changed by the shorthand of the form. Director Michael Patrick Jann keeps his "documentary crew" fairly clear of the action, though he manages to get some good laughs from their participation in the hilarity.
    Denise Richards and Kirsten Dunst lead the runway parade. Richards displays enough pearly white for a dental convention and Dunst does her best to define ineptitude. The supporting actors are in fine fettle. Kirstie Alley is the mom with a mission and Ellen Barkin is a living monument to beer, while Allison Janney makes more of her side-kick role than could ever be expected.  
     Shot in a colorful, cartoon palette, Drop Dead Gorgeous has all the eye-candy appropriate to the material. The DVD is barely short of reference quality exhibiting minor edge enhancement in some sequences, but the array of color is outstanding. Just dig the tightly controlled colors on all the silly contest wardrobe the girls wear. Skin tones remain remarkably natural within the explosion of color all around. There's more than enough contrast to make everything pop off the screen without compromising detail. Sonic ambience and musical numbers are served equally well by the Dolby Digital 5:1 surround encoding. The DVD is delivered in both anamorphic widescreen and pan & scan versions.





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