Connie and Carla Directed by Michael Lembeck
Universal, opens April 16
The phrase "written by Nia Vardalos" should send any self-respecting moviegoer screaming into the night, pursued by the comedienne's frizzy-haired brand of hysteria and the brain meltdown it inevitably induces. One suspects Vardalos's movies aren't written as much as up-chucked, the result of all-night binges on SnackWells and Oxygen network reruns. Indeed, Vardalos is no stranger to recycling: My Big Fat Greek Wedding was based on her play (and was later reprocessed as a sitcom), and in Connie and Carla, the Oscar nominee not only rehashes Some Like It Hot, but steals an additional gender-bending twist right out of Victor/Victoria. On the run from the mob, lounge act Connie (Vardalos) and Carla (Toni Collette) arrive in L.A., where they find anonymity as drag performers at a West Hollywood club. There they teach the sad queens the importance of being themselves. Another vehicle for Vardalos's fantasies (she again bags the stud, played here by David Duchovny), Connie and Carla lacks Abba and John Leguizamo, but it does have Debbie Reynolds, who in her five minutes on-screen, shows how playing yourself is really done.