Raymond (Jeremy Davies) is prepping himself for a very rewarding medical internship when his father, Tom (Benjamin Hendrickson), insists that he return home to take care of his sick mother (Alberta Watson) who has broken her leg. As all college students are, Ray becomes randy and hormonal with mounting professional frustration, the constant physical contact with his mother and the inclusion of Toni (Carla Gallo), a high school student that he tries to deflower. The rest of the movie is, essentially, leading up to the big climax of Ray getting frisky with his mom in an incestuous, liquor-driven free-for-all. It's easily one of the more interesting films about oedipal relations, but there are problems.
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The brassy title derives from the fact that Hedwig, born Hansel, underwent an unsuccessful sex change operation when marrying an officer to flee an oppressive, still-halved Berlin. His childhood isn't a pretty picture, so it's easy enough to imagine the desperation strong enough to drive him towards accepting the drastic change. Hansel wouldn't have had a problem adapting to womanhood as he considered himself a "girly boy" anyway, but with a one-inch penis and no breasts, his difficulties increase.
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Points for trying to avoid the cruel typecasting fate of Freddy Prinze Jr., but Dunst is pretty far from her element here. As a girl named Silly (Silly!), Dunst takes center stage in a tale told by Lynn Redgrave's aging Celia -- part fiction, part legend. The fishing village where she lives, it is told, has a dark past, caused by an ancient curse that causes the fish to vanish from the local waters once every 50 years. The only way to banish the curse is to sacrifice a girl in the water. And guess who's turn it is to go?
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Not only does the provocative title of Tart mislead us, but the packaging features a lithe Dominique Swain on its covers, her schoolgirl skirt blowing up to expose her panties. The tagline: "Sex, Drugs and Study Hall."
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While watching "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," all kinds of poster-quote comparisons popped into my head to describe this weird and wry, sardonic and ironic concoction of transsexual punk rock melancholy-mirth.
It has the cult potential (and off-Broadway origins) of a "Rocky Horror," but while it is similarly a low-budget, tongue-in-cheek musical centered around gender confusion, it's far more sagacious and polished.
I toyed with calling it the anti-"Josie and the Pussycats," since it's the polar opposite of that recent flop's backhanded endorsement of rock'n'roll commercialism and capricious pop pap. But "Hedwig" is such a uniquely entertaining and original work of musical-dramedy invention, it deserves better than to be compared to anything that has come before it.
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