Die, Mommie, Die!

dir. Busch

Opens Fri Dec 5

Cinema 21

If an 11-inch dick is a plot point in a movie, after a while you kinda want to see it. With Die, Mommie, Die!, Charles Busch's most recent cutefest, the elusive schlong (attached to Jason Priestley, no less) is symbolic of the film: lots of tease, little satisfaction.

Busch plays Angela Arden, a has-been singer with troubled children (Natasha Lyonne and Stark Sands), a permanently constipated husband Sol (Philip Baker Hall), and no career to speak of since her twin sister offed herself. Priestley is Arden's kept man, though most of the family gets a ride once Sol dies under mysterious circumstances (a suppository gone awry).

After the death comes some Mommie Dearest mixed with B-grade thriller. There is bad lip-syncing, an LSD trip, and enough sexual dysfunction to make Michael Jackson blush. Busch's plots are always Kate Moss-thin, relying on camp humor and sexual undertones to compensate for anything substantive. Here, much is made of the best mood lighting this side of Far From Heaven, and there are some great comic situations, but the incest jokes and mock sexual tension are about as exciting as the falsies in Busch's D cup.

Charles Busch is the funniest drag queen/playwright-cum-movie star out there, but the movie is like a Log Cabin Republican: not sure if it should support the Defense of Marriage Act, or lie down and scream, "Fist Me, You Leather Daddy!" It's like Busch knew that, outside major cities, no audience would appreciate it--but he tried to appeal to them anyway.

Props to Lyonne and Priestley, who both tasted commercial success and decided that supporting a middle-aged man impersonating a wilted Joan Crawford is a better way to spend their time. It's refreshing to know that Priestley actually has something goin' on upstairs, but the movie left me wondering about whatever's down his pants.