Bam Bam and Celeste [2005]

Genre: Comedy
Margaret Cho cheers on social outcasts in the charming comedy Bam-Bam & Celeste. Dictator-obsessed punkette Celeste (stand-up comedienne Cho, who also wrote the screenplay) and her gay hairdresser "boyfriend" Bam-Bam (Bruce Daniels, Can't Stop Dancing) flee the Illinois town where they've been taunted and harassed all their lives, hoping to get on a makeover show in New York called Trading Faces. Like all cinematic road trips, this is a journey of self-discovery, in which Celeste learns to love herself for herself--but though the conclusion is no surprise, getting there is offbeat and fun, with oddball episodes featuring "the lesbian lone ranger" (Jane Lynch, The 40 Year Old Virgin), a racist convenience-store clerk (Danny Hoch, Whiteboyz), and Bam-Bam and Celeste's final confrontation with their high school nemeses turned beauty-salon moguls. The day is saved in the end by Celeste's mother, also played by Cho--basically playing her own mother, as she does in her stand-up act. Alan Cumming (The Anniversary Party) plays Celeste's e-mail pal who happens to work on Trading Faces, while John Cho (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) is the show's snooty host. The bubbly camp of Bam-Bam & Celeste doesn't feel forced or insular, but like an honest celebration of misfit culture and blazing one's own trail. A loose, silly, but enjoyable movie. --Bret Fetzer

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