Movie Review: But I’m a Cheerleader (2000)

TitleBut I’m a Cheerleader
Release Date: July 7, 2000
Director: Jamie Babbit
Production Company: Ignite Entertainment | The Kushner-Locke Company

High school cheerleader Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is stunned when her parents and friend consider her behavior to be “abnormal” and stage an intervention. Megan is sent to True Directions, a conversion therapy camp to be “cured” of her homosexuality.  In the draconian setting of True Directions among other teenagers being trained to be heterosexual, Megan instead finds acceptance and even romance with her fellow campers, especially Graham (Clea Duvall).

Conversion therapy seems like an uncomfortable topic to make a comedy about, especially since in the 20 years since this movie was made the cruelty and trauma of this practice is more widely known.  This film is undoubtedly a satire, and a blunt one with the bright pink and blue colors of True Directions emphasizing strict traditional gender roles as well as heterosexuality.  But the movie is also very sweet, with the romance of Megan and Graham played very well.  Some of the supporting characters are broad gay stereotypes, especially the boys, but Lyonne and Duvall are excellent in the lead roles.  The humor is hit and miss but overall this is a pretty good film.

Rating: ***