Rating: Rated "PG-13"
The plot? Things go awry at a teen beauty pageant in Mount Rose, Minnesota, when beautiful Becky (played by Denise Richards), suspects that competition from a local trailer park, the talented Amber (played by Kirsten Dunst), could just win. Many years ago, Beckyís mother (played by Kristie Alley) was the pageantís first winner and mom now directs the affair (her husband owns the local furniture store). Amberís mother is the local beautician, a kind of Northern Plains steel magnolia (played by Ellen Barkin), who after an explosion at the trailer park, plays most of the movie with her left hand not only burned but stuck in a beer can. But, hey, it makes a great ashtray.
As the pageant approaches, things begin to happen to most of Beckyís rivals including one girl who is killed in a tractor mishap and another by a falling floodlight. All the time everybody talks with the same forced Minnesota accent, dresses in deplorable taste, and we are forced to watch so-called satire that includes: The Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club, jokes about Mall America, and pageant activities that include readings from "Othello" and "Soylent Green" (and if you donít remember it, the second was the sci-fi story about cannibalism in the year 2022 and Edward G. Robinsonís last film).
The movie is supposed to poke fun at America but only ends in making bad jokes about the mentally ill, anorexics, and, of course, homosexuals. As an English teacher friend of mine pointed out, satire was alive and well in the 16th, 17th, and 18th, and most of the 19th centuries. But at the end of 20th century America, how can anybody do proper satire when the entire culture is involved with satirizing itself every day!