When Drop Dead Gorgeous hit theaters in 1999, it landed with a thud. Critics panned the dark comedy, which spoofed the world of small-town beauty pageants. But despite critical disdain, the movie, which stars Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Alison Janney, and Ellen Barkin, gained a cult following.
For years, the only way to watch this Minnesota-set mockumentary was on DVD or VHS. Despite an all-star cast, it never made its way to any streaming service. But that all changed on July 5, when Drop Dead Gorgeous landed on Hulu.
‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ spoofs pageant culture
Directed by Michael Patrick Jann, Drop Dead Gorgeous is a faux-documentary about a group of girls from Mount Rose, Minnesota who are engaged in a cutthroat competition to win the Sarah Rose Cosmetics Mount Rose American Teen Princess Pageant. Screenwriter Lona Williams — who originally wanted to call the movie Dairy Queens until Dairy Queen threatened to sue — was inspired by her own experiences a teenage beauty queen when writing the script.
Dunst plays trailer-park resident Amber Atkins, who wants to win the crown so she can follow in the footsteps of her idol, news anchor Diane Sawyer. Richards plays her rival, rich girl Becky Leeman. Becky is the daughter of former pageant queen and current pageant organizer Gladys Leeman (Kirstie Alley) and is Amber’s toughest competition for the big prize. Amy Adams (in her first onscreen role) and Brittany Murphy are other pageant contestants, while Barkin plays Amber’s chain-smoking mother Annette and Allison Janney is their neighbor Loretta.
These girls and their moms will do anything to win the crown, and as pageant day approaches, contestants start dropping like flies. The movie is full of over-the-top violence and exaggerated Minnesota accents, as well as a scene where Richards dances with a life-size crucified Jesus to the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” It’s not for everyone, but those who love it really, really love it.
Allison Janney has said she’s recognized more for ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ than anything else
To get an idea of how much some people feel about Drop Dead Gorgeous, just ask Janney. The actress, who won an Oscar for I, Tonya and starred for years in The West Wing, says Loretta is the role people ask her about the most.
“I think I get more people coming up to me saying how much they love that movie than any other thing I’ve done. Even more than West Wing, I have to say,” she told the AV Club in 2011.
Janney and Barkin seem thrilled that their movie is finding a new audience, with both actresses tweeting enthusiastically about its availability on Hulu. Richards, who now appears on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, also shared a throwback Instagram post about the movie.
Fans, meanwhile, took to social media to talk about how excited they were that Drop Dead Gorgeous is finally streaming.
Take their word for it and go watch Drop Dead Gorgeous now. You won’t regret it. Check out the trailer below.
Check out Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Facebook!