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Connie and Carla Reviews

Nia Vardalos' follow-up to her surprise hit MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (2002) borrows liberally from SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959), VICTOR/VICTORIA (1982), SISTER ACT (1992) and THE BIRDCAGE (1996), then plunges a pair of airheads a la ROMY AND MICHELLE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION (1997) into the gender-bending mix. Childhood friends Connie (Vardalos) and Carla (Toni Collette) have been scheming and dreaming of ways to break into show business since they started performing songs from "Oklahoma" in their high-school cafeteria. Years later, the Debbie Reynolds-loving duo are performing the same shtick in a Midwestern airport lounge, albeit with new wigs and costumes courtesy of friendly neighborhood drug dealer Frank (Michael Roberds). But after they accidentally witness Frank's murder at the hands of drug lord Rudy (Robert John Burke), the pair have to hightail it out of town or risk Rudy's murderous wrath. They say farewell to their families and on-again-off-again boyfriends, Al (Nick Sandow) and Mikey (Dash Mihok), then hit the road. Knowing that information they've left behind will have local gangsters searching obvious dinner-theater hot spots like Miami and New York, they head to Los Angeles and discover they can keep singing and keep a low profile if they pose as drag queens at the Handlebar nightclub. Since they can actually sing, rather than just lip-synch, their act becomes an instant hit in West Hollywood. Connie and Carla adjust to their new lives with only a few complaints: Carla pines for men who like to kiss women, while Connie's love interest, Jeff (David Duchovny), thinks she's a man. Though positioned as a female buddy comedy, this uneven and overly busy comedy is more focused on the romantic travails of Vardalos and Duchovny, who's very nearly a carbon copy of her love interest in MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING. Vardalos sets herself up in the spotlight, hogging the lion's share of the film's attention-getting physical gags. But the strong supporting players — notably Collette, as rail-thin binge-eater Carla; Stephen Spinella as bartender Peaches, aka Robert; Boris McGiver as MAME-loving mobster Tibor; and Debbie Reynolds as herself in a sparkling cameo — steal the film's quieter, more touching moments.