The lure of Hollywood stardom is just too much for a girl to resist. Evie, Coco and Varla are fame-seduced pawns in a scary West Coast fairytale; it’s a claw-your-way-to-the-top struggle you’ve seen before, but never enacted with such volcanic wit, not to mention broad shoulders — because these girls are actually guys.
Girls Will Be Girls is the directorial debut for comedy-writing veteran Richard Day (who’s penned for TV’s “Mad About You,” “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Clerks”). I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much due to a dull trailer vacant of charisma. To my pleasant surprise, bursts of gaiety caused me to spit pieces of popcorn into the cinematic darkness, many times. In this film, Day has written and directed an explosion of bad taste swallowed, and occasionally spit back out, over and over again, culminating in fashionable she/he cat fights by the pool.
Evie (Jack Plotnick) voices a nonstop barrage of bitter bites and wacky nips as she stabs all backs in her path on her way to the liquor bottle. Meanwhile, lovelorn Coco (Clinton Leupp) tries to protect sweet Varla (Jeffery Roberson), whose seething whipped cream-coated plan of revenge is maybe not so sweet. It’s as if John Waters stirred up a wicked morning martini with two unhealthy shots of girl traumas from Where the Boys Are and Beyond The Valley of the Dolls, then served it to Day, who has regurgitated it for our irreverent pleasure.
By using men to portray women, Day doesn’t need to worry about taking things too far because they can never be taken too seriously. His black-hearted humor reigns free and is pushed to its cross-dressing extreme, like when Coco falls in love with her abortion doctor — “So, is this your first abortion?” — in a soft-lit soap opera-esque flashback.
Girls Will Be Girls is an all-boy affair that’s not afraid to explore all those dark places where the lust for fame lives and humor hides — under the skirt.
Showing at the Main Art Theatre (118 N. Main, Royal Oak). Call 248-263-2111.
Anita Schmaltz writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.