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Connie and Carla (12A)

Review by: Graeme Kay | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes. Extended musical scenes; Outtakes; Commentary with writer/star Nia Vardalos and director Michael Lembeck; Making of. And more...

HUGELY enjoyable musical written by and starring Nia Vardalos (of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame) and Toni Collette.

Connie (Vardalos) and Carla (Colette) are musical entertainers whose careers are going nowhere.

But their love of musicals drives them on nonetheless.

When they witness one of their colleagues being murdered by a local mobster, however, everything changes.

Having been spotted by the thugs C&C realise that they must go on the run and find somewhere to hide out that no-one would ever think of looking for them.

After some discussion, they decide that they need a place that is totally deprived of popular culture. Alaska? Montana? No. Los Angeles, actually.

Having arrived in LA, to make ends meet, the pair initially take jobs as beauticians in one of city's many beauty parlours.

When that fails, things start to look desperate.

Until, that is, they stumble across The Handlebar, a low-life dive, wherein drag-queens of all shapes and sizes lip-synch along to songs from contemporary musical cabaret.

Sensing a possible opening for themselves, C&C audition for the cabaret - the one snag being that they must pretend to be men dressed as women!

After a frosty reception from the mainly gay clientele - 'Oh, look they're doing Cabaret. How original' - the pair win through on the grounds that 'Hey, they're actually singing'.

Success then builds upon success and, after starting out with the stage names of Al & Mickey, C&C allow vanity to get the better of them and start billing themselves eponymously, even though that means they are more likely to be found by the killer who is tracking them down.

So, can they keep out of the assassin's reach? That would be telling.

Suffice to say that Connie & Carla is a great laugh, with the two female leads impressing with their singing, dancing and passable impersonations of drag-queens.

The musical numbers are great and there are a couple of sub-plots - Connie falling for a man, Jeff (David Duchovny), to whom she cannot reveal that she is actually a woman without blowing her cover, and the healing of the troubled relationship between Jeff and his transvestite brother - to help swell the pudding.

Great fun, in a very camp way.

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