Drop Dead GorgeousJuly 23, 1999
A small town beauty pageant turns deadly as it becomes clear that someone will go to any lengths to win.
Release Year: 1999
Rating: 6.3/10 (18,616 voted)
Critic's Score: 28/100
Michael Patrick Jann
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Ellen Barkin
In a small Minnesota town, the annual beauty pageant is being covered by a TV crew. Former winner Gladys Leeman wants to make sure her daughter follows in her footsteps. Explosions, falling lights, and trailer fires prove that. As the Leemans are the richest family in town the police are pretty relaxed about it all. Despite everything, main rival (but nice) Amber Atkins won't be stopped. There could well be more death and disappointment to come.
Rebecca 'Becky' Ann Leeman
Laurie A. Sinclair
(as Laurie Sinclair)
Brooke Elise Bushman
The battle between the good and the bad is bound to get ugly.
Release Date: 23 July 1999
Filming Locations: Ardmore Village, Lakeville, Minnesota, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $3,986,269
(25 July 1999)
(12 September 1999)
Did You Know?
The giant cow statue is located at a creamery in Bongards, Minnesota.
During the opening number of the pageant, Michelle Johnson (Laurie Sinclair) is wearing a "Hollywood" hat; near the end, she can be seen standing behind Amber Adkins (Kirsten Dunst) with no hat at all.
This pageant is like a roach motel – girls check in but they don't check out.
Intelligent, witty and biting dark satire
Drop Dead Gorgeous is a film about a teenage beauty pageant. As you
might expect; it features plenty of young girls in skimpy outfits,
dancing, singing and all that crap. However, unlike a lot of films of
the same ilk; here, hidden behind a facade of teen beauty and all the
other trademarks of the teen comedy genre, is an intelligently written,
witty and very dark satire on the consumer society.
Drop Dead Gorgeous is a filmed in the style of a documentary, a la
'This is Spinal Tap' and follows the escapades of a group of contenders
in the annual beauty pageant. The contenders are introduced via a very
amusing sequence, which sees them tell the audience about themselves.
It's very MTV in the way it's done, with all the girls introducing
themselves as shallow, fussy, typical teenage girls. After that, the
film starts to set its dark tone, with one of the girls being blown up,
and is the tone that will be carried throughout the rest of the movie.
Some of the humour in this movie is so dark that even I, a fan of very
black comedy, couldn't decide whether to laugh at or not; a woman that
gets a beer can melted to her hand, an anorexic previous winner, and
the pageant winner being blown up on a huge float are all included in
this movie. It's lighter and more tongue in cheek moments are also done
very well, such as the part in which one of the judge's brothers gets
caught in the car door, or a hilarious 'home video' of an explosion.
The characters in Drop Dead Gorgeous are all, with the exception of
Amber Atkins, disagreeable, shallow and overblown stereotypes. This is
one of this movie's main assets; it has the parodying of stereotypical
people spot on; we've got an "I'm not a pervert" pervert judge, an
insensitive, egotistical head of the richest family in town, the
overenthusiastic boyfriend and many other colourful and amusing
characters. Some of the lines said by these characters are priceless;
stupid, but not overly stupid and you really could imagine people like
these saying things like the characters in this film do.
The entire cast of this movie excels; it features a lot of small
characters and each one plays their part to perfection. The main acting
plaudits come for Kirsten Dunst in the starring role of Amber Atkins.
Kirsten has the ability to act, and act well and she's also extremely
good looking. Many actresses look good and can't act, or vice versa but
Kirsten has both abilities, which makes her a very good lady to have in
your film. With a few more hits under her belt; Kirsten may well be
remembered as the finest actress of her generation. Two other stand out
performances come from Kirstie Alley as the former winner of the
pageant and mother of one of the contestants; and Ellen Barkin, who
brings the characters of Amber's mother to life brilliantly.
Drop Dead Gorgeous is a film that will be overlooked by many because
it's a teen comedy. This is a great injustice; here we have a film that
is extremely funny, well acted and actually has something to say.