Sordid Lives | Chicago Reader

Sordid Lives

To call this campy would be charitable: an assortment of southern stereotypes (women with big hair, men with beer guts, gay sons and their Blanche DuBois mamas) flit in and out of this 2000 family melodrama set in a small Texas town, squabbling and commiserating as they prepare for the funeral of a matriarch who's died tripping over the wooden legs of her adulterous lover (Beau Bridges). Director Del Shores adapted his own semiautobiographical play, and his overbaked dialogue labors to explain the convoluted family history rather than reveal character. (In one truly scary scene the institutionalized uncle, dressed as Tammy Wynette, is seduced by a shrink in a desperate act of “dehomosexualization.”) An ensemble of TV and B movie actors, including Delta Burke, Bonnie Bedelia, and Olivia Newton-John, roll out their southern accents and manneristic tics, and the choppy editing and silly camera angles heighten the impression of a freak show. 111 min.

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