After jointly winning a local Drag Queen pageant in New York City, Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes) and Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze) win the right and are given the round trip airfare to compete in the Drag Queen of America pageant in Hollywood, California. Noxeema sees herself as the next Dorothy Dandridge, who bucked the trend of most black American movie actresses of her time by never playing the slave house maid. Vida's style reflects her past of growing up in upper class suburban Pennsylvania. One of their fellow New York City contestants, Chi-Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo), is a straight-talking, but naive and inexperienced Drag Queen. Seeing that Chi-Chi needs some Drag Queen confidence (despite her bravada), Vida and a reluctant Noxeema decide to cash in their plane tickets and buy an older model Cadillac convertible and drive to Hollywood with Chi-Chi. Their drive takes them through much of the country where alternate lifestyles are less tolerated than they may be in New York ...Written by
"The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictitious: any similarity to actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. In particular, the character named "Chi Chi Rodriguez" was not based upon or authorized by the professional golfer of that name." See more »
From its original conception, this film must have started as a riot. The premise of having three macho actors take on the roles of drag queens to put together a very funny and insightful comedy of the sexes must have appeared as an impossible task. In the end, the film works because of its tight screenplay and its well defined characters. Swayze, Leguizamo, and Snipes hold nothing back, making each character real and multi dimensional. There are elements of farce, hilarity, outrageousness, and some very daring moves from its three leads. With the help of a strong supporting cast that includes Stockard Channing, as a battered woman, the film moves along quite nicely.
It's a fantasy with a firm hold in reality. The leads portray three human beings that must confront what society deals them, and in the film, they manage to make some of their dreams come true. Unlike other movies dealing with special types of love, such as "Beautiful Thing" and "Big Eden" where the ending perfectly matches the rest of the fantasy, this one faces reality and offers an interesting type of compromise. It's bittersweet, expertly interweaving both the possible and impossible.
Leguizamo shines as the very caliente latina persona who lives dangerously and tries to fit in, in her own special way. Swayze is the classy one, who is not allowed to forget her true nature. Wesley Snipes' role borders on caricature, but he keeps it from crossing the line between farcical and ridiculous. They all do very good work with this very risqué and difficult material. It works out.
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