True Directions
But I'm a Cheerleader!
Review by Ross Anthony

In the over-stereotyped, suburban American, 1950's life-style, Megan is a cheerleader who doesn't enjoy kissing her handsome jock boyfriend. The camera peeps in through the windshield as these two make out in the car: the boyfriend's tongue flopping around like the tail of some decked fish, while Megan's eyes, wide open and fluttering in all directions, search for something interesting to take her mind off what her mouth is doing. It's hilarious.

Soon enough, her God-fearing, homophobic parents, confront her with their scariest suspicions, "Our daughter's a lesbian!"

An obedient child and by now quite confused, Megan agrees to board at a countryside "Heterosexual School" with a newly recruited small group of teen lesbians and gay boys that are in for a "Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver" lesson in how to be straight. Guys are taught to work on car engines and girls in pink, learn to scrub stains from burnt pots and pans. And though this simplistic/comedic angle on the gay issue has been played powerless already, the edgy dialogue keeps the film fresh, lively and light.

On the phone to her parents, Megan reports, "You were right, I am a homosexual, but I'll be regular soon." Then in defending her favorite pastime she says to Graham (the tomboy dorm mate she is trying not to find attractive), "Okay, maybe cheers aren't intellectual, but they make people feel good." Graham snaps back, "No, cheers make people do stupid cartwheels, orgasms make people feel good!" Kudos to the acting talent of both Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall.

The art directors have painted each room of this large country house its own special color, with an exterior of pink giving the whole scenario a purposefully ridiculousness, cartoony feel. However, the music, intentionally rinky-dink, adds little.

Though surreal and silly, the film is not afraid to say or do the taboo, so, if girls kissing each other on the lips makes you squint your eyes and feel nauseous then you ought to be forewarned. In fact, these scenes are done tenderly.

The look of the film is somewhat over-exposed and technically just barely short of the mark with an embarrassingly poorly cut scene just prior to the climax. Still, it's wacky fun, and spiced with loose lips and one-liners that'll more often than not crack up the crowd.

  • But I'm a Cheerleader! Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Cathy Moriarty, Eddie Cibrian, Melanie Lynskey,
  • Bud Cort, Dante Basco, Rupaul Charles.
  • Directed by Jamie Babbit.
  • Written by Brian Wayne Peterson based on story by Jamie Babbit.
  • Produced by Andrea Sperling, Leanna Creel.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:45 PDT