Connie and Carla [2004]

Some Like It Hot gets a queer makeover in Connie and Carla, a lightweight comedy from the writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. In Billy Wilder's classic, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis teamed up in a male-as-female drag comedy, whereas here, writer-star Nia Vardalos goes a step further (and several derivative steps backwards), teaming up with Toni Collette as the titular heroines, playing women posing as men posing as women--kind of like Victor/Victoria with excess mascara. They witness a murder, and the killer knows it, so they hightail it out to West Hollywood, where (with the help of poodle wigs and garish cosmetics) they blend in with the performing drag queens at the Handlebar club, where queer makeovers are fabulously mandatory. Connie (that's Vardalos, to Collette's ditzy Carla) gets the hots for a drag queen's straight brother (David Duchovny), and even Debbie Reynolds pitches in to give a show that any gay crowd would love. There are some well-earned laughs along the way, but the whole thing feels like a sitcom we've seen before, which pretty much summarizes Vardalos's career to date. Vardalos has genuine comedic talent (and so does Collette), but it's adrift in this hash of old ideas. --Jeff Shannon

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