The Reel Review
When a tragic death mars the start of the highly competitive annual beauty pageant in tiny Mount Rose, Minnesota, a battle royale ensues between the sweet, trailer park dwelling, fair-haired Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst) and Becky Leeman (Denise Richards), the privileged, not so nice daughter of the town’s wealthiest family, led by her mom, former pageant winner and now pageant director and emcee, Gladys Leeman (Kirstie Alley).
Drop Dead Gorgeous is without a doubt, THE most hilarious beauty pageant mockumentary ever made. Since its largely unnoticed big screen debut in 1999, this sleeper has become a cult classic, with a limitless supply of quotable one-liners, wonderfully offensive, politically incorrect moments and standout performances.
Not only are Dunst, Richards and Alley hysterical, but Ellen Barkin, as Amber’s hilariously tacky, beer guzzling mom Annette, and Allison Janney, in a piss-your-pants-its-so-funny role as Annette’s sarcastic, morally-relaxed best friend, Loretta, are scene stealers.
• Screenwriter Lona Williams, herself a contestant in local beauty pageants, appears in Drop Dead Gorgeous as the pageant’s third, non-speaking judge, Jean.
• The original title was to be “Dairy Queens,” but was changed after the corporation that owns the ice cream chain filed a lawsuit.