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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

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.