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With: Matt LeBlanc, Eddie Izzard, Nicolette Krebitz, James Cosmo, David Birkin, Edward Fox, Udo Kier
Written by: David Schneider, based on a story by Joseph Manduke, June Roberts, Digby Wolfe
Directed by: Stefan Ruzowitzky
MPAA Rating:
Language: with English subtitles
Running Time: -99
Date: 10/14/2001

All the Queen's Men (2002)

0 Stars

War is Gel -- and Lipstick and Rouge

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The horrible, 99-minute stink bomb All the Queen's Men -- the third drag queen comedy of 2002 -- is no better than the other two, Sorority Boys and Juwanna Mann. While not all drag queen movies are bad -- remember Some Like It Hot and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert -- why is it that some filmmakers think that simply watching a man walking around dressed as a woman is funny? Maybe it was about 80 or 100 years ago, but slipping on banana peels also got big laughs back then. This time around, director Stefan Ruzowitzky and writers Joseph Manduke, June Roberts, David Schneider and Digby Wolfe had the unfortunate idea to combine their unfunny drag comedy with an uninspired World War II drama. They probably came up with the title All the Queen's Men first, thought it was humorous, and tried to craft a story that would fit.

Matt LeBlanc from "Friends" (has he ever been in a good movie? Remember Ed?) stars as Steven O'Rourke, a hotshot American soldier who manages to steal a secret decoding machine from the Nazis. But during his escape the British shoot and destroy the device. And so he finds himself recruited on another mission to get a new one. With help from a drag queen named Tony Parker (Eddie Izzard), Steven and his band must dress as women to infiltrate an all-women run factory in Germany. Among the recruits: a bookworm (David Birkin) who speaks dozens of languages, and a middle-aged desk jockey, Archie (James Cosmo), who has probably never seen combat. A friendly and pretty female agent (Nicolette Krebitz) gives them a hand, and provides a love interest for LeBlanc.

It appears that once All the Queen's Men went before the cameras, the filmmakers suddenly realized the drag angle wasn't working, so they tried switching from attempted comedy to nostalgia and heartfelt drama. If the movie's high-heeled footing was wobbly to begin with, it's positively stumbling and flailing by the time the final third rolls around. It's so painful see these actors -- some of them good -- trying to play the later, serious scenes with remnants of their women's clothes showing. They simply take off a wig or their high-heeled shoes to deliver an impassioned speech about honor and dignity.

LeBlanc is good on "Friends." For almost a decade, he's pulled off his dopey half-witted Joey, a character who understands that intelligence only gets in the way of true happiness. But here he proves he's not an "acting range" kind of guy. But the marker that shows how low this movie sinks has got to be when Archie, while dressed as a woman, manages to attract a young street urchin who believes Archie's her mother. The child gives away the game when our crew tries to hide from the Gestapo and later helps Archie get into the place where the code machines are made. (It's in a toy factory). Must I further explain how abominable this is? Would a 6-year-old child really mistake a man in drag for her mother? I'm not kidding. This stuff is NOT played for laughs. Director Ruzowitzky actually wants us to take this seriously. Many critics complained that Jerry Bruckheimer's war picture "Pearl Harbor" relied too heavily on cliches. All the Queen's Men makes that movie look like a John Ford masterpiece. This film not only insults the memories of war veterans around the world, but also the dignity of drag queens everywhere.

While we still have about two months to go before the year's out, I'm sure my picks for 2002's worst picture will be a three-way tie between our three drag comedies. But believe it or not, another threatens to rear its ugly head: Rob Schneider's The Hot Chick. It's probably not.

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