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Sordid Lives

Sordid Lives

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Studio: 20th Century Fox
Rated: R
Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes
Street Date: 6/6/2006


Sordid Lives, an over-the-top comedy written and directed by playwright Del Shores, serves up white trash with all the fixin's in home-fried style. The ensemble piece focuses on a dysfunctional southern family stirred into a frenzy by the death of their matriarch. That the old woman died in a motel room after tripping over her lover's prosthetic legs says more than enough about the family's pedigree. Flamboyant performances abound, including Beau Bridges as the amorous amputee and Delta Burke as his fried-chicken-chomping wife. But overlying this Deep South free-for-all is a more serious exploration of homosexuality, revealed in the therapy sessions of the dead woman's gay grandson (Kirk Geiger), who has tried, unsuccessfully, to keep his sexuality secret. Less inhibited about his proclivities is Brother Boy (Leslie Jordan), a flaming drag queen who's been institutionalized for 20 years, lip-syncing Tammy Wynette while an exasperated psychiatrist tries to "dehomosexualize" him. Jordan gives the most colorful performance in a film with a decidedly Day-Glo sensibility. The wild card in this mix is Olivia Newton-John, who plays a local honky-tonk singer with a surprisingly believable southern drawl and a flair for country crooning. Sordid Lives moves from satire to full-blown farce before taking a shot at emotional catharsis, and with such a wide tonal range, it almost bites off more than it can chew. But extremes redeem here, and Sordid Lives works as an unpredictably outrageous mouthful of gay-friendly fun. Gregory Baird

Writer-director Del Shores serves up a heaping helping of Southern-fried comic melodrama in this adaptation of his own play about infidelity, country & western music, and Airstream trailers. When their sister dies, Latrelle (Bonnie Bedelia), LaVonda (Ann Walker), and Sissy (Beth Grant) plan her funeral -- an unenviable task, considering that they must carefully hide the deceased's affair with amputee G.W. (Beau Bridges) from his wife, the vindictive Noleta (Delta Burke). Meanwhile, the trio has to come to terms with two cases of sexual orientation: Latrelle's openly gay soap-opera star son Ty (Kirk Geiger), whose sexuality she continues to deny; and their only brother, Boy (Leslie Jordan), who's serving a sentence in a mental ward for his adamant belief that he is actually country & western legend Tammy Wynette. Playing an aspiring singer-songwriter, Olivia Newton-John turns up to provide the film with the occasional musical interlude. Michael Hastings


Aspect Ratio: Alternate Wide Screen (1.77:1)
Presentation: Wide Screen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
Features: 2 deleted songs performed by Olivia Newton John; Alternate opening and 9 deleted scenes with commentary; Director/producer/cast audio commentary & interviews
Language: English
SubTitles: English
Time: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

Part Number: FOXDV2006597
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