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digs presents: dragapalooza
by Diana Goodman
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continued from page 1

It almost goes without saying that Hoffman is amazing. Dorothy really does become her own character -- believable, if a bit matronly. She's consistent, even while trying to perfect the feminine act; the "tough broad" role on the soap underlines the problem by making the role a balance of masculine and feminine. (It's not easy -- even when she calls her director a "macho shithead," it's barely taken seriously because its in her genteel little voice).

But even besides Hoffman's performance, Tootsie has two things on any other drag comedy. Heck, any other comedy period. First off, it has fantastic, natural dialogue. It's not like a sit-com where everyone says everything in the exact same volume and tone of voice. People are noisy or quiet, talk to themselves, interrupt each other... just like in real life, which makes the characters very easy to relate to. The true master of this dialogue is Bill Murray, who breaks out of his limited role ("wacky best friend") with an unshaven, sarcastic deadpan he's never quite hit again. Because there are so many levels of dialogue, asides, mutterings, etc., there's always something new to hear; I've seen Tootsie probably ten times and the last time I swear I heard a new line. ("Your eye job looks wonderful," "Yeah, but I can't blink for a month.") And as if all that weren't enough, there's Teri Garr as Michael's would-be girlfriend, a study in depressed but pissed-off singledom that even Bridget Jones can't touch.

The other thing that puts Tootsie above the rest is its immense heart. Michael's love for the show's star Julie (Jessica Lange) is heartfelt, not played for cheap gags. It's still funny, but not just because he's in a dress. Instead, the humor goes deeper, eliciting laughs as Michael struggles at being her girlfriend, not knowing how it is women act around each other. And when Julie's father, Les (Charles Durning), falls for Dorothy, Dorothy -- and all of us watching – feel genuinely bad for him when she has to turn him down. Breaking hearts -- yet another peril of life in a dress.

o o o o o

buy the
flick pick | Some Like It Hot 1959
Directed by: Billy Wilder
Starring: Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe
Look it for it under: Classics, Comedy
Language: English

Watch it when you’re in the mood for
something: witty
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained

plot synopsis Some Like it Hot stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as Joe and Jerry, two Prohibition-era musicians who witness a mob massacre and flee Chicago, hiding in an all-girls jazz band as "Josephine" and "Daphne." Both fall for the band's lead singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), while Jerry/Daphne fends off an older, lecherous millionaire. There's singing, there're chases, wigs are frantically thrown on and complaints are made about how drafty it is wearing a skirt. The "girls" are confronted with problems they never experienced as men, from walking in heels to the unwanted advances of men who are all-too-similar to their "real" selves. Through it all, the two also have to struggle with simply staying in character while trying to get what they want, namely Sugar.

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