Die Mommie Die

In what surely must be one of the signs of the apocalypse, within a matter of weeks, two movies with men dressed as and playing women hit theaters. Girls Will Be Girls and Die Mommie Die are shot to look somewhat old fashioned, and both have protagonists that tend to be on the bitchy side. Most important, both are not as funny as they think. Die Mommie Die has the unique distinction of a lawsuit. The film credits the story to star Charles Busch, who adapted his own play to the big screen. Shortly after its release, Charles Casillo sued, claiming the story was based on a play of his. Well, this is certainly a unique story. A judge told producers to put a sign on all movie posters identifying Casillo as a co-writer, and the case has yet to reach a resolution.

Die Mommie Die is a weird sort of homage to old movies from the 60s. Everything has an artificial air about it, the people dress the part, and soft lighting is the rule, not the exception. It is reminiscent of another movie that Natasha Lyonne (Party Monster, Kate & Leopold) was in, But I'm A Cheerleader. Both attempted to be wacky satires, and both failed. Lyonne is Edith Sussman, daughter of Angela Arden (Busch, Trouble on the Corner, It Could Happen to You), a washed up singer. Arden's marriage to producer Sol Sussman (Philip Baker Hall, The Sum of All Fears, Lost Souls) is vitriolic, enough so that she plots to kill him and succeeds. Now, Angela can continue her affair with another washed-up actor, a much younger Tony (Jason Priestly, Darkness Falling, Cherish), not that it was any sort of secret. Meanwhile, Tony schemes to bed both Edith and her brother Lance (Stark Sands, Pack of Dogs).

In order to have a successful satire, a movie needs to be funny. Apparently, that went over the heads of both Busch and Mark Rucker, who directed. Die Mommie Die is an exercise in tedium, intermittently amusing, but mostly dull. As the title suggests, everybody eventually discovers Angela's plans, and the film takes another not-so-dastardly turn. The film just fails to go far enough. Scenes of Angela "medicating" Sol and Edith walking in on Angela and two men never evoke anything stronger than mild annoyance. In order to be funny, Busch needs to do more than his lame attempts to shock the audience.

Busch's character is also not that interesting. Yes, she is scheming and devious, but she is also boring. The most interesting character by far is Priestly, whose lascivious intentions on the entire Sussman clan are actually pretty funny. If anything, Rucker did a good job with the way he made Die Mommie Die. It feels like a film from that era. The actors have the style of talking down pat, and the film does look great. And, it never approaches the level of a bad film, just a dull one.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated R for strong sexual content, language, and a drug scene.

Back to Movies