All The Queen's Men

"Terrible"

All The Queen's Men Review


Husky men in drag may be good for a sketch-comedy guffaw, but as the basis for an entire movie the idea always gets stretched way too thin.

It's the difference between "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," a good movie with authentic transvestites who happen to be fun and funny, and "To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar," an inane movie built on nothing more than the incongruity of seeing Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo in flamboyant frocks. (OK, Leguizamo looked pretty damn good.)

But far worse than even "To Wong Fu" is "All the Queen's Men," in which decking out burly boys as "broads" is little more than a fatuous gimmick -- the kind of 25-words-or-less concept that is the basis of most bad movies: Wouldn't it be funny if a bunch of Allied soldiers went undercover as assembly-line women in a German factory during World War II?

Um...no. But here's a movie about it anyway.

Matt LeBlanc (Joey on "Friends") gives a passable performance as an American soldier "captured" by the British after successfully sneaking across enemy lines and returning with an Enigma machine (the German's famous decoder, recently pivotal to the plots of "Enigma" and "U-571"). In a scene that is mistaken for funny by writer David Schneider and director Stefan Ruzowitzky, LeBlanc is mistaken for a double agent by the dolts on the front line, who also think the Enigma is a Nazi typewriter.

"Do you have ID?" the Brits ask when he says he's American. To which LeBlanc quips, "I'm over 21 if that's what you're worried about."

To avoid a stockade sentence (couldn't LeBlanc's superiors clear this up?) he agrees to lead a motley crew of inept officers -- a sissy-bookworm codebreaker, a gruff, 60-something desk jockey, and a once dishonorably discharged homosexual played by drag comic Eddie Izzard -- on a dolled-up mission to get another Enigma. (The dumb soldiers destroyed the one he had) from the facility where they're built.

Aside from the antiquated and loudly trumpeted cross-dressing gags (a training montage includes lipstick application, bra stuffing and leg shaving), the movie tries to be an ill-advisedly earnest mix of sub-par slapstick and sensitive moments about the horrors of war (an air-raid aftermath sequence) and about lifestyle discrimination (Izzard is reunited with an old boyfriend who's had it rough in Berlin).

Ruzowitzky badly miscalculates this mixed tone, winding up with such superficial sincerity and feeble humor that there's little to do as an audience member but wonder about the plot's gaping holes.

Why is this bungling bunch sent on such a mission? Only one is a real soldier, only one speaks German, only one looks remotely feminine and only LeBlanc has any espionage experience. Why weren't female spies recruited instead? ("No more women on combat missions," says an English officer. But this isn't a combat mission -- they're infiltrating a factory staffed by women.) Why does the movie take place in 1944 -- years after the Allies already had a couple Enigmas?

About five minutes before the credits roll, a thinly contrived explanation is offered for some of these questions, but by that time it's too late. "All the Queen's Men" has already hit bottom with the wet thud of cheaply simplistic comedy.

Just about its only saving grace is the fact that being a low-budget Canadian-English production probably saved the movie from being saddled with incompetent "Saturday Night Live"-spawn players, for "All the Queen's Men" is about the caliber of entertainment you'd expect from Rob Schneider and David Spade. And anyone who remembers the "Gap girls" sketches on "SNL" knows how awful they look in drag.



All The Queen's Men

Facts and Figures

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 13th December 2001

Box Office Worldwide: $23 thousand

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Strand Releasing

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 7%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 27

IMDB: 4.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Stephan Ruzowitsk

Starring: Matt LeBlanc as O'Rourke, as Tony, as Archie, as Romy, David Tristan Birkin as Johnno, as Aitken, as General Landssdorf, as Franz, as Hauptsturmführer

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.