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Sirens of the 23rd Century

First-time feature maker Jennifer M. Kroot succumbs to a consumptive case of the cutes in "Sirens of the 23rd Century." Camp fantasy about "beauty rebels" fighting for the right to be retro-superfemme in a glamour-deprived fascist future does have some kitschy visual appeal. Scattered gay fest dates aside, pic's prospects don't look pretty.

Casting herself as producer, director, scenarist and star — playing a princess, no less — first-time feature maker Jennifer M. Kroot succumbs to a consumptive case of the cutes in “Sirens of the 23rd Century.” Camp fantasy about “beauty rebels” fighting for the right to be retro-superfemme in a glamour-deprived fascist future does have some kitschy visual appeal. But humor is often childish, with satire so vague that this quasi-sendup of female looks-obsessing ends up seeming like an irony-deprived vanity project. Scattered gay fest dates aside, pic’s prospects don’t look pretty.

Sprinkling in-joke refs to “Barbarella,” “The Wizard of Oz” and various camp texts, half-baked narrative has Princess Helen Darling (Kroot) fleeing her parents’ castle when they’re forced into marrying her off to a sexist-pig leader of the “Men’s Plainness Advocacy.” She finds refuge at a beauty academy run by imperious blue-haired Diana (Omewenne), who adopts the uber-girly blonde fugitive as both star pupil and lover. Fast-paced but cluttered, shapeless progress requires more than one voiceover narrator to provide some semblance of structure. Pity the chaotic script and oft-amateur perfs didn’t rate the same attention accorded amusingly gaudy thrift-shop-fantasy costumes and sets.

Sirens of the 23rd Century

  • Production: A Tigerlily Pictures presentation. Produced, directed, written by Jennifer M. Kroot.
  • Crew: Camera (color, vid-to-35mm), Gary Rohan; editors, Tom Bullock, Kirk Goldberg; music, Tone Sanchez; production designer, John Johnson. Reviewed at Roxie Cinema, San Francisco, June 3, 2003. (In San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Festival.) Running time: 86 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Omewenne, Jennifer M. Kroot, Trevor Hale, Richard Harder, Felecia Faulkner, Paul D'Addario, Rachel Klyce.
  • Music By: