If one Ru Girl has the abilities to carry a feature length movie, it is without a doubt Bianca Del Rio. Her illustrious reputation proceeds her as the most worthy winner in Drag Race herstory.
The plot sees a meek mannered and struggling school teacher Richard move from New York City to a small backwoods town in Texas to work at a new school. Struggling to fit in with the community of the town, and school, Richard is soon outed and as a result fired. To maintain his income, and extract a little revenge of his own he suits up as his imperturbable drag persona Bianca Del Rio to teach the students while causing a little mischief.
Not tea, no shade, but the first 30 minutes of the movie was a a little slow but provided the groundwork for the plot. As soon as we got the Bianca transformation, the movie kicked up a gear as fans got exactly what they wanted, sarcasm, wit, and more insults than you could shake a stick at. We’d heard a few of the digs in her stand up before and a few jokes failed to land, but on a whole the material was strong.
The feud with Vice Principal Deb was the highlight of the movie as the two comic forces bounced off one another brilliantly, but the romantic subplot with straight Coach Chuck was a little uncomfortable. Don’t get us wrong, the chemistry was there, we loved Denton Blane Everett (especially in the nude), and the backlit scenes were adorable, but we were a little uneasy thinking about the inevitable outcome that could happen.
The subplot of trans runaway and friend to Bianca, Karma Johnstone was a great addition to the movie. While it was incidental to the overall plot, it seemed to fit within the movie well and was a heartwarming and grounded addition to the plot that never felt out of place for being too serious.
As well as the trans visibility, there were a number of serious topics that the film hit in just the right way. The fact that it is legal for somebody to be fired from their place of work for being gay in 29 states, the bullying of LGBT teens, and homophobia were all tackled in a way that was neither frivolous nor too deep.
As an actor, Roy Haylock (Bianca), is fairly decent! He did a good job with both ends of the spectrum as the unassuming Richard, and the hellish bitch Bianca, as well as tackling some more emotional moments. The only criticism is that as a drag queen, he is more used to performing for the back row so there was a lack of subtly in his actions at times, but in a camp classic – who cares?
Rachel Dratch slayed. Everybody knows she is a comedic genius but throughout her extended role in this movie she stole scenes one after the other as the villainous Vice Principal Deb, or Deborah Ward, never Debbie! We really hope she scores larger roles in more movies after seeing her really shine with her hilarious schtick.
While Willam is obviously a capable actor as he so proudly likes to remind us, Shangela’s talents were a revelation as she effortlessly thrived throughout the movie. Against seasoned professionals she stood out as a star to watch; we would totally watch a solo outing of her own!
The cameos in the movie were fun little additions but some were better placed than other. Alan Cummings, and Margaret Cho’s singular scenes were great for scoring big names but added little to the overall experience, where as RuPaul’s role as the weather man was a fun nod to the Drag Race fans, as well as Alyssa Edwards’ short scenes.
Despite being on a shoe-string budget of just $166,889, most gathered by crowd sourcing, you could barely tell as it was crafted so well. The only incidents that were noticeable were the often empty stadiums and theatres, the occasional audio muffling, and that horrific visual effects (camp classic though, right).
Our Verdict Is: This movie gave us everything we were expecting, and sometimes a little more! A fun but poignant comedy it was at times (warm your chilly little heart) as everybody is on their A-game, giving everything they’ve got to this indie venture. You don’t have to be a fan of Drag Race or even Bianca Del Rio to enjoy this movie, as long as you like over-the-top camp sensibilities. We think it’s a total classic that we’d watch again, and we just pray she has another big screen hit up her sleeve.