But I'm a Cheerleader

November 16th, 2000


But I'm a Cheerleader

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A naive teenager is sent to rehab camp when her straitlaced parents and friends suspect her of being a lesbian.

Release Year: 1999

Rating: 6.2/10 (11,699 voted)

Critic's Score: 39/100

Director: Jamie Babbit

Stars: Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Michelle Williams

Megan is an all-American girl. She's a cheerleader, she has a boyfriend, etc. But she doesn't like kissing her boyfriend very much. And she's pretty touchy with her cheerleader friends. And she only has pictures of girls up in her locker. Her parents and friends conclude that she *must* be gay and send her off to "sexual redirection" school, full of admittedly homosexual misfits, where she can learn to how to be straight. Will Megan be turned around to successful heterosexuality, or will she succumb to her love for the beautiful Graham?

Writers: Brian Wayne Peterson, Jamie Babbit

Natasha Lyonne - Megan
Michelle Williams - Kimberly
Brandt Wille - Jared
Bud Cort - Peter
Mink Stole - Nancy
RuPaul - Mike (as RuPaul Charles)
Katie Donahue - Cheerleader #1
Danielle Reneau - Cheerleader #2
Cathy Moriarty - Mary Brown
Eddie Cibrian - Rock
Melanie Lynskey - Hilary
Clea DuVall - Graham
Katrina Phillips - Jan
Katharine Towne - Sinead
Joel Michaely - Joel

Taglines: A Comedy Of Sexual Disorientation

Release Date: 16 November 2000

Box Office Details

Budget: $1,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $60,410 (USA) (9 July 2000) (4 Screens)

Gross: $2,595,216 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Cathy Moriarty asks a character if she wants to be a "raging bull-dyke." Moriarty received an Oscar nomination for her role in Raging Bull.

Crew or equipment visible: The top of a crew member's head appears at the bottom of the screen just after Megan and Dolph get out of the pick-up, in army clothes, to go and save their respective lovers from the diploma ceremony.

Jan: I mean, everybody thinks I'm this big dyke because... cause I wear baggy pants, I play softball, and... and I'm not as pretty as other girls but that doesn't make me gay. I mean, I like guys. I can't help it. I just want a big fat wiener of my...
Andre: Amen, sister.

User Review

Quite brilliant.


Although on paper this might seem quite offensive to some people, But I'm A Cheerleader is actually a stunning film. A film based around a homosexual rehabilitation commune may be a sensitive and distressing issue, but this film handles it perfectly, by not taking sides and making it a comedy. It plainly shows you the ridiculousness of such a situation but also shows you how people can become so engulfed by it and their own beliefs, and also making it one of the funniest films I've seen for a long while.

Natasha Lyonne is excellent as Megan, a girl who isn't given a chance to fully realise she is a lesbian, and is carted off to "True Directions", led by the rather scary Mary .J. Brown. There, with other "confused" teenagers, she goes on a quest to find her "true destiny" as a happy heterosexual. Although, things do not go to plan, and Megan falls in love with fellow resident Graham, who sees the horror of the whole place. The film has many nice touches that make it all the more enjoyable, such as Mary having an extremely camp son (played by the rather damn gorgeous Eddie Cibrian) and also having her colleague played by the legendary RuPaul, in a rare dragless turn.

This film excels in having both humorous and heartbreaking moments. It intertwines classic comedy and tearful reality with ease. You'll have the boys salivating over Mary's son Rock one moment and a rather devastating scene where student Jan tries to convey that she isn't really gay at all, but was forced here. When this film wants to put it's message across it does, and scenes such as Graham's father telling her graduate or she's on her own really do have an impact. But where this film really wins is in it's way that it does not take sides. Mary does not see the error of her ways throughout the film and remains firm in her homophobic beliefs.

This film isn't about trying to change people's opinions, it's simply presenting a situation and leaving people to make up their own minds. It's also a comedy, and a very funny one at that, with some glittering performances from all, especially, Lyonne, Clea DuVall and Cathy Moriarty. This film may not be to everyone's taste, but it's perfect for whatever mood you find yourself in. Definitely a triumph.


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