"Queen of the Whole Wide World" chronicles the staging of a mock beauty pageant of drag queens, complete with swimsuit, evening gown and talent competitions. Clearly the annual L.A. event has been successful, but film's prospects look dicey outside festival play.

“Queen of the Whole Wide World” chronicles the staging of a mock beauty pageant of drag queens, complete with swimsuit, evening gown and talent competitions. Clearly the annual L.A. event has been successful (last year’s raised $225,000 for AIDS research), but film’s prospects look dicey outside festival play. While it has its lively moments and proceedings are generally amusing, docu feels like too much of an inside joke to provide a mainstream connection to its subject matter.

The queens are almost always in character as Ms. Mexico, Ms. France, Ms. Ireland, etc., describing their outrageous make-up and attire strategies and playfully criticizing their fellow queens in talking-head interviews. Their rambunctiousness is funny at first but soon wears thin. Precious little time is devoted to exploring who these people are and what their day-to-day lives are like. Ironically, the few sequences that eventually do deal with this (such as the one showing the strained relationship between Ms. Mexico and his brother) are among the film’s most interesting. Linda Blair, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and other guests appear briefly and inconsequentially as pageant judges.

Queen Of The Whole Wide World

Production

Produced, directed, edited by Roger Hyde.

Crew

Camera (color, Beta SP), Bob McCall; sound, Dave Mitlyng; additional camera units, Doug Froebee, Brian Scott, Mike Hamilton, Scott Farquharson; associate producer, Mark Gibson. Reviewed at L.A. Film Festival, April 22, 2001. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Kris Andersson, Scott Lane, Dan Gibson, Oscar Quintero, Darryl Keith Roach, Worthie Meacham, Charles Herrera.
Guest appearances by: Linda Blair, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Eric McCormack, Bruce Vilanch, Christian Campbell, Patrika Darbo, Kristen Johnson.
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