But I’m A Cheerleader

But I’m A Cheerleader (1999)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Clea DuVall, Natasha Lyonne, Cathy Moriarty, RuPaul Charles, Eddie Cibrian
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

’But I’m a Cheerleader’ is one of those films that has a funny and clever central idea that would’ve made a great ’Saturday Night Live’ skit or a nice short film, but doesn’t work as a full-length feature. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan, a normal high-school girl. She’s popular, a cheerleader, and has a boyfriend. But, her family and friends are convinced that she’s really a lesbian, so they hold an intervention to confront Megan, and she is then sent to True Directions, a deprogramming center. True Directions is run by Mary (Cathy Moriarty) and Mike (Rupaul Charles, here appearing as a man). Once at the center, Megan realizes that she is a lesbian and begins to fall for Graham (Clea Duvall). Will Megan accept who she is, or do what her family wants?

Once the main joke of the deprogramming center has been established, the film runs out of gas. There are some funny sight gags and some clever lines, but the film ’But I’m a Cheerleader’ can’t decide what it wants to be. One moment, it’s an over-the-top satire of society’s attitude towards homosexuality, and the next it wants to be very serious. Also, I found it ironic that a film that wants to be very hip and informed about homosexual behavior, presents us with very stereotypical and shallow homosexual characters. If you’re in the mood for a biting comedy with an edge, I recommend that you check out ’But I’m a Cheerleader’, but don’t expect too much from it.

The DVD release of ’But I’m a Cheerleader’ brings us the film in an anamorphic widescreen which is letterboxed at 1.85:1. This framing of the image appears to be accurate, as there is no obvious loss of visual information at the sides of the screen. The picture is crisp and clear, with only a fine amout of grain being revealed by the digital transfer. Being a low-budget film, the image is a bit soft and dark at times, but overall, the picture is fine. The film is filled with bright pastel colors, mostly pinks and blues, and these come across beautifully on the DVD transfer. Actually, it’s this color presentation that really makes one stand up and take notice of the quality of this transfer. As the DVD contains only the film and the theatrical trailer, which is presented full-frame and is much grainier than the film, there are no problems with compression.

The audio on the DVD is a Dolby 2-channel surround mix. The dialogue is always very clear and audible in this mix, and there is no obvious hiss. However, the only real surround sound usage comes during the many musical cues. For the most part, ’But I’m a Cheerleader’ has been given a nice presentation on DVD.