“They found me being spun around nude on the lazy susan.”
Former glamorous songstress Angela Arden (Charles Busch) is unhappily married to Hollywood director, Sol Sussman (Phillip Baker Hall). Spoiled brat, daughter Edith (Natasha Lyonne) has a slightly incestuous relationship with her darling daddy, but loathes her mother. Angela can’t stand Edith, but pampers son Lance (Stark Sands). Angela and Lance even share a secret language. To console herself for her unhappy marriage to her misery of a husband, Angela amuses herself with toyboy gigolo/ tennis coach, Tony Parker (Jason Priestly). But when grumpy Sol (who suffers from chronic constipation) puts his foot down and cancels Angela’s credit cards, she decides to kill him with a poisoned suppository.
If you love camp, then Die Mommie Die is the perfect film for you. Some films end up being campy without intending to be so, but Die Mommie Die is a campy homage to 50s tearjerkers, and the film succeeds very well indeed. Die Mommie Die uses some passe filmmaking techniques to add to the general campiness and cheesiness of the film. For example, there is one scene in which actors sit in a stationary car against the backdrop of moving traffic. Other scenes recall some of the great films from the era (Sunset Boulevard, for example). Some of the lip synch singing scenes are deliberately off on the timing, and most of the acting is over-the-top.
Die Mommie Die is incredibly funny. I think my favourite scene (and it’s hard to choose) takes place when Angela is persuaded to sing again, and she decides to entertain the guests. The lines in the film are original, cheeky and some of the funniest ones are too rude to place here:
I own you just like I own every toilet in this house.
You eat normal or we’re going to shut you up in an institution.
There were 8 of them.
You can’t discard me like one of your false eyelashes.
I’ve got money now. Stocks, bonds, and a supermarket in West Covina.
Being a man of the world, I have friends in interesting places.
I always knew you were nothing but trash washed over from the Canadian border.
Charles Busch plays Angela Arden, in drag, of course, and he plays the role with a serene, resolved, yet slightly pretentious Bette Davis air–although there are a couple of scenes worthy of Joan Crawford thrown in for good measure. I read several professional reviews of the film, and the reviewers seem to be less-than-amused. Most reviewers refuse to see camp as the art form it truly is, but for me, as a lover of the tacky, the bawdy and the camp, this film was perfect. From director Mark Rucker.