This item originally appeared in the April 22, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.
By RINDY METCALF
In "Connie and Carla," two lounge singers from Chicago are forced to hide out as drag queens in a town with no dinner theater and no culture at all -- Los Angeles.
After Connie, played by Nia Vardalos, and Carla, played by Toni Collette, witness a drug-related murder, they put their old lives and dreams of Broadway stardom on the back burner and enter a queer kind of witness protection program by becoming the new nightclub act at a gay bar in West Hollywood.
These two women, who pretend to be men dressed as women, wow their audiences and become increasingly and dangerously more popular when the drug lord sends his showtune-loving goon to every dinner theater in the nation to find them.
Their lives are further complicated when Connie keeps bumping into Jeff, played by David Duchovny, an almost engaged, uptight financial analyst in search of his long lost brother, and romantic sparks fly.
Connie is torn between blowing their cover and blowing her chance at real love.
Like in Vardalos' previous screenplay, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," this film contains major themes such as acceptance and self-esteem.
Jeff struggles to accept his estranged brother, who is half of the lip-syncing drag duo, Peaches 'n' Cream.
Connie and Carla encourage the body-conscious Los Angelites to worship their bodies, let their laugh lines show and prove that it's OK to pick up a Twinkie or two.
Vardalos' screenwriting skills are not quite as endearing in this laugh-a-minute film as in her earlier film. The storyline is broken up by dangling one-liners and seemingly important appearances that lead nowhere.
A person would have to squint and turn his head to the side to see masculine features in the voluptuous figures of Vardalos and Collette as they parade around in revealing costumes. Their voices are noticeably high-pitched.
Duchovny seems a little alien in his relationship with Vardalos but seems right at home among the uproarious Belles and whistles of this film.
Although it was not highly publicized, audiences will immediately fall for this feel-good film and go home from the theater singing any one of the various showtunes.
Despite some confusing storyline, it's not such a drag É pun intended.