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But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 16,524 users   Metascore: 39/100
Reviews: 183 user | 94 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

A naive teenager is sent to rehab camp when her straitlaced parents and friends suspect her of being a lesbian.

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(screenplay), (story)
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Title: But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Brandt Wille ...
...
Peter
...
Nancy
...
Mike (as RuPaul Charles)
Katie Donahue ...
Cheerleader #1
Danielle Reneau ...
Cheerleader #2
...
Mary Brown
...
Rock
...
...
...
Jan
...
Sinead
...
Joel
Edit

Storyline

Megan is an all-American girl. She's a cheerleader and has a boyfriend, but she doesn't like kissing him very much, and she's pretty tactile with her cheerleader friends, and she only has pictures of girls up in her locker. Her parents and friends conclude that she *must* be gay and send her off to "sexual redirection" school, full of admittedly homosexual misfits, where she can learn how to be straight. Will Megan be turned around to successful heterosexuality, or will she succumb to her love for the beautiful Graham? Written by Martin Lewison <mlewison@utk.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

friend | lesbian | cheerleader | locker | love | See more »

Taglines:

A Comedy Of Sexual Disorientation

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and sexual content involving teens | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 2000 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Make Me Over  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$60,410 (USA) (7 July 2000)

Gross:

$2,199,853 (USA) (15 September 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Melanie Lynskey was Jamie Babbit's first choice to play Hilary after the director had seen her in Heavenly Creatures (1994) and Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998). Additionally, Lynskey had already worked with Natasha Lyonne (Megan) in Detroit Rock City (1999). See more »

Goofs

During the bar scene, Megan removes her sweater on the bar. She goes to dance, and then leaves through the back door in a huff, whereupon her sweater magically reappears. See more »

Quotes

Megan: I'm a homosexual!
[shouting]
Megan: I'm a homosexual! I'm a homosexual! I'm a homosexual! Oh my god... they were right. I'm a homo.
Mary: Congratulations, Megan. You have just taken your first step in your true direction!
[group therapy applauds then embraces her]
Megan: I'm a homosex...
[cries]
Mary: Okay. Go on now. Don't worry, Megan. It's gonna be okay.
Megan: [drooling] No.
Mary: Here, put these on.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Teens (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

All Or Nothing
Performed by Miisa
Written by Chris Owen and Miisa
Published by Warner Chappell Music Scandinavia AB (STIM)
Administered by Warner Bros. Music Corp. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of 404 Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

fun clever comedy
15 August 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As gays and lesbians have achieved more and more acceptance in our society, a countervailing force – led mostly by conservative religious organizations

  • has been rearing its head in recent years. The movement is often
referred to as `reparative therapy,' the rather absurd notion that, with just a little grit, determination and behavior modification, homosexuals can be `cured' of their `illness' and groomed to take their place as fine, upstanding members of the heterosexual community. Certain `treatment centers' dedicated to this dubious cause have even begun to spring up in areas around the country, modeling themselves after 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.

The makers of `But I'm a Cheerleader' have chosen to have a little fun with the concept, imagining one of these centers in almost surrealistic terms. Sweet-faced Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan, a regular teenager happily content to give her all to her cheerleading squad and only mildly confused as to why she can't seem to get quite as excited by her boyfriend as by thoughts of her buxom cheerleader buddies. Suspecting her of being a lesbian – long before Megan herself does, actually – her `concerned' parents, friends and boyfriend cart her off to True Directions, a treatment center tucked safely away in the country. In this bucolic setting, Megan and a group of other `deviants' are put through the rigors of a 5-step therapy program which includes admitting their homosexuality, undergoing gender role playing and even `practicing' man/woman sexual behavior under the stern tutelage of the mistress of the place. In keeping with the near-surrealism of the subject matter, the center is done up in an almost Montessori school motif, with bold colored walls and furniture somehow emphasizing the cold, inhuman sterility of the setting.

`But I'm a Cheerleader' is, by no means, a great or entirely successful comedy. Its attempts at humor, particularly in its opening scenes, seem a bit forced and heavy-handed at times. Moreover, the tone shifts a bit uneasily every so often, running the gamut from stylized absurdity to heartbreaking seriousness. Still, the undisciplined messiness is really part of the film's overall charm. It removes the work from the same category as all those ultra-slick bubble-headed comedies about teens that major studios seem to release with frightening regularity. And the movie does have many laugh-out-loud moments of inspired lunacy, showing to what preposterous lengths many straights and even some pressured gays will go in order to `correct' the uncorrectable. We see the girls being given instructions on how to use a vacuum cleaner, wear makeup and change diapers. The boys are instructed in the fine arts of wood chopping, throwing a football and fixing cars. These scenes work, in particular, not only for their comic effectiveness but their underlying poignancy, as these scared youngsters – many threatened with disownment by their parents if they don't `straighten up' – give it their all, against all hope, to truly change, to deny the very person their raging hormones are screaming at them to be.

The movie also manages to make the gay characters seem real and believable. Thanks to a superb cast, many of the teens emerge as touching, three-dimensional people rather than the cartoon characters that they might have become in a similar film of this kind - particularly when it would be so easy for them to become so in the face of the caricatures of parents and camp counselors who swirl around them in this highly stylized setting. Prime among these is Cathy Moriarty, brilliant as Mary, the prim and proper leader of the establishment, a woman whose righteous wrong-headedness the actress captures to a comic tee. In contrast, Rue Paul, out of drag for once, gives a superbly understated performance as an `ex-gay' now working for the enemy. Among the teens, Lyonne and Clea DuVall, as the girl Megan falls in love with, are the obvious standouts. They turn these potentially cardboard comic characters into full-sized, instantly recognizable young women filled with yearning, confusion and a desire to both please others and be true to themselves.

And that is the ultimate message of this film. Though done in an absurd way, the movie strives to point out that all of us must be allowed to be who we are and to live the life that best suits us. Whether we are gay, straight or whatever, that's a philosophy of life we all need to be reminded of from time to time.




62 of 79 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
the masculine-looking girl bornwriter17
Megan's cheer at the end--awww kaydo
whats ur favourite scene in the film?? evilmonkeygirl89
Who in the cast is actually gay? fes123456
Does nobody else see beyond the humor in this film? sarahberkouwer
Other positive lesbian fims? zoodoo99
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