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But I'm a cheerleader (Make me over)

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

A comedy of sexual disorientation.

Megan's (Natasha Lyonne) got it all. She's popular, pretty, a model student, dates the captain of the football team and... she's a cheerleader! Everyone would envy her, if she weren't so likeable. But it all comes to a screaming halt. Just as she's about to go to the play-offs, Megan walks right into a group intervention which was set up by her family - an intervention like no other - to prove that she's a homosexual!

Megan is shocked and horrified but the evidence is overwhelming - she's a vegetarian, doesn't like kissing her boyfriend and hugs her friends too much! Instead of cheer leading, her parents send her off to True directions, a homosexual rehabilitation camp, to change her ways.

Megan becomes the model student at the conversion camp and works hard at becoming straight but when she meets Graham (Clea Duvall), a rich girl who has no intention of rehabbing but is only there because daddy threatens to cut off her trust fund, Megan begins to question everything she's told. This John Waters influenced "off the wall" comedy brilliantly blends humour with romance as a young girl finds the courage to be herself.

Theatrical propaganda posters

But I'm a cheerleader image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film teen comedy religion gay orientation change lesbian love intervention Christian convert

Persons of interest

  • Natasha Lyonne .... Megan Bloomfield
  • Clea DuVall .... Graham Eaton
  • Cathy Moriarty .... Mary J Brown
  • RuPaul .... Mike
  • Mink Stole .... Nancy Bloomfield
  • Bud Cort .... Peter Bloomfield
  • Melanie Lynskey .... Hilary Vandermuller
  • Joel Michaely .... Joel Goldberg
  • Kip Pardue .... Clayton Dunn
  • Katharine Towne .... Sinead Laren
  • Douglas Spain .... Andre
  • Eddie Cibrian .... Rock Brown
  • Dante Basco .... Dolph
  • Katrina Phillips .... Jan
  • Richard Moll .... Larry Morgan-Gordon
  • Wesley Mann .... Lloyd Morgan-Gordon
  • Brandt Wille .... Jared
  • Kyle Thatcher .... Mr Goldberg
  • Robert Pine .... Mr Eaton
  • Charles Braden .... Bruce
  • Michelle Williams .... Kimberly
  • Jamie Babbit .... Storywriter
  • Brian Wayne Peterson .... Screenwriter
  • Jamie Babbit .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report


You do realise, dear readers, that this film is not so much a parody as a documentary, don't you? Right-wing Christian groups all over the world run camps, seminars and intensive shock therapy sessions designed to rid the repentant soul of the heinous affliction of ho-ho-homosexuality. It's like the brainwashing A clockwork orange but without the good intentions. Not one of these groups will give out official figures of successful conversions even though they are willing to claim hundreds and thousands when off the record (where no legal action can be taken against them). To add insult to injury, most people who go through the courses end up needing huge amounts of therapy to get them back to being a normal human being. Just like people rescued from cults.

What But I'm a cheerleader does is turn the whole process upside down and inside out, ie takes the piss. With no-holds-barred the methods, motivations and madness that is sexual "reorientation" is exposed for the mean spirited mistake that it is. The feminine figure is played by a drag queen/tranny, the masculine figure is a "successful" graduate of the camp played by a drag queen in civvies. The boy lust object and son of the camp's founder is a muscle queen. The drop-outs are happy, well adjusted fags and dykes while the graduates are firmly closeted queers caught in a web of denial.

Some of the humour is in your face, some of it is a bit obvious but most is for queer-family members only, which is a pity because it puts the film into the pink niche rather than general release. It's like preaching to the converted. In order to get its message across to the people who need most to hear it (the confused homosexuals with no access to happy homosexuals and the great unknowing horde of heterosexuals) But I'm a cheerleader would have to be a totally different film: a drama like Philadelphia, a life comedy like The Broken Hearts Club or a black comedy like um... er... well, I can't think of one at the moment but if you put gay characters into 28 days (not to downplay Alan Tudyk's big queen Gerhardt - I used to share a house with a guy just like him but with smaller muscles) you'd be getting the idea.

Anyhoo, But I'm a cheerleader is a deliberately bubbly romp through a decidedly non-bubbly subject matter which you will enjoy if you see sexual orientation for the joke that it is.

Security censorship classification

M (Low level coarse language, low level sex scene)

Surveillance time

89 minutes (1:29 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 16 November 2000

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