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Connie and Carla

Lucy and Ethel

Nia Vardalos made raucous, over-the-top ethnic family drama/comedy seem funny again in My Big Fat Greek Wedding so it comes as little surprise that she would try to make a raucous, over-the-top drag queen drama/comedy seem funny again too. The only problem is that it was never funny before and it's not funny now.

Well, it's funny in that "ain't life a barrel of laughs" and "those queers sure are funny, ha-ha" sort of way, but as a true comedic vehicle that attempts to provide genuine insight into the nature of gender roles and sexual orientation, Connie and Carla falls flat. It's neither as funny as Some Like It Hot nor as thought-provoking as Yentl, although it tries to be.

Connie (Vardalos) and Carla (Toni Collette) play two energetic, ever-hopeful singer/dancers who perform in a Chicago airport lounge and dream of making it big. They witness a mob hit (uh-oh!) and are forced to flee for their lives (yikes!). Because the movie would be too interesting if they drove someplace really remote (Saskatchewan or Yucatán spring to mind), they end up in Los Angeles instead where they find refuge- and a paying gig- as drag queens in a nightclub.

Naturally, no one sees through their fanciful wigs or intense makeup, or their high-pitched voices, so they blend in like one of the gang until Connie becomes attracted to Jeff (David Duchovny), the estranged brother of one of their fellow drag performers who wants to make amends. Bridging the diverging, silly storylines are a dozen stunning song and dance numbers that showcase the talents of Vardalos and Collette but reveal the lack of substance holding up the rest of the show.