A review of “Connie and Carla” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: **

Rating: PG-13 tasteless situations and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

 

 

Victor/Victoria and Some Like It Hot it ain’t, and the inevitable comparisons won’t be pretty.  Could it be that comedienne Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) is just a great big flash in the pan?

The story has played out on many a screen; Connie and Carla (Vardalos and Toni Collette) are Chicago dinner theater actresses playing to empty houses who accidentally witness a brutal mafia hit and take to the road running.

Naturally the duo head to Los Angeles, a land so arid of culture that no one would think to look for them there (duh).  Though only marginally talented, the pair finds their song and dance skills perfectly suited to the role of…drag queens. 

Only in the movies: Connie and Carla become the unexpected toasts of the underground cabaret circuit, a cross-dressing smash.  One bad musical number segues into another, showcasing the flamboyant duo as poster children for struggling drag queens everywhere.

Gender-bender obstacle 101; girl playing guy playing girl falls for guy and yearns to prove she’s a girl.  In this case the lucky guy is hunky Jeff (David Duchovny), the straight brother of one of the chorus line who’s at a loss to fathom the attraction.

With the mafia hot on their heels and their sexes blurring beyond recognition, the “girls” assuage their guilty consciences by offering up meaningful advice -- in this case lectures on body image and the importance of believing in yourself.  Subplot piles on subplot, leaving a train wreck of a finale in its wake (with a cameo by Debbie Reynolds, no less).

Connie is harmless enough; chock full of tasteless innuendo and the occasionally witty zinger.  The project has crowd-pleaser written all over it, but it’s that brand of smirky, trying-too-hard entertainment that reeks of desperation. 

Vardalos over-plays her hand, attempting to lap up a little residual Greek Wedding glory.  The talented Collette is once again relegated to second-fiddle, and the normally intelligent Duchovny could use his time a lot more productively.