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Transamerica
DVD disk
06.05.2006 By: Quigles
Transamerica order
Director:
Duncan Tucker

Actors:
Felicity Huffman
Kevin Zegers
Fionnula Flanagan

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A pre-op transsexual woman is confronted with the presence of her unknown teenage son.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
TOBY
Did you know The Lord of the Rings is gay?
BREE
I beg your pardon?
TOBY
There's this big black tower, right? And it points right at this huge burning vagina...thing, and it's like, the symbol of ultimate evil. And then Sam and Frodo have to go into this "cave" and "deposit" their magic "ring" into this hot, steamy lava pit. Only at the last minute, Frodo can't "perform", so Gollum bites off his finger. Gay.


I popped this flick into my DVD player expecting it to be one of those dry, meaningful dramas that educates the public on certain controversial issues (such as homosexuality, racism, etc.), but was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be much more than that. While it does certainly portray its fair share of insightful and thought-provoking ideas, the movie also makes for a wonderfully hilarious and off-the-wall comedy. Not only that, but it's a great mother-son story too (or would that be father-son story?). Come to think of it, it also works wonders as a road movie. Heck, this movie works in so many ways, it's disappointing that the general public hasn't been giving it enough recognition. Then again, you can't really blame 'em... the whole idea of a movie surrounding a man in his final stages of becoming a transsexual woman doesn't really sound like a fun way to spend 2 hours. But hey, I can admit when I'm wrong, and in this case, I do it happily.

Actress Felicity Huffman is the driving force that moves this film, and Kevin Zegers simply adds a whole nother layer of strength to the production. Their characters feel very real, and both actors share terrific chemistry. As the movie progresses, so does your connection to the leads. The whole thing is just fantastically developed through and through. By the time the credits role, I can pretty much guarantee that the flick will have played with your emotions several times over - that alone proves to be an impressive accomplishment for any film.
THE EXTRAS
Before I discuss the extras, I just have to mention the DVD's horrible holographic slipcase. At one angle it shows Felicity Huffman as she looks in the movie (sort of weird and man-like), and then at another it shows Felicty Huffman at her most beautiful. Why they did this, I don't know, but it feels like just a cheap marketing ploy to get people to rent the movie (or possibly to prove that Felicity Huffman doesn't look like a dude?). Regardless, it's lame and unnecessary, and I really wish they hadn't done it. END RANT.

Audio Commentary (with writer and director Duncan Tucker): This is a great commentary, offering plenty of humor and hardly any dead air. He also loads the time-length with cool anecdotes and weird facts. A fun and worthwhile listen.

A Conversation With Duncan Tucker and Felicity Huffman (19:00): This semi-interesting discussion between the director and leading lady feels a little staged, but both participants offer up some worth-while information. Most notable, Huffman discusses her exploration of the character and how she transformed herself. Check it out.

A Conversation With Duncan Tucker and Kevin Zegers (10:00): Not as interesting as the previous "conversation". This one's more about Zegers alone, with hardly any focus on anything in the film un-related to him. Fans of him may want to check it out.

Blooper Reel (3:55): This is less a blooper-reel and more a reel of just general goofiness. The actors joke around, make faces, improv, etc. Still worth watching.

Also included on this DVD are a Music Video called "Travelin' Thru" by Dolly Parton, a featurette titled Making the Music Video (4:15) about - you guessed it - the making of the Dolly Parton music video. Lastly, the DVD includes the movie's Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Cast away any presumptions you may have concerning this film - it's not what you expect. It certainly hits all marks of an expected drama of this kind (it's touching, meaningful, tear-jerking, etc.), but it also excels past that by injecting a strong level of comedy and entertaining scenarios. And what better way to end a review than showing by example...
TOBY
And these shoes. Three dollars, a dollar fifty each. You know how much these things are worth in Japan?
BREE
Three dollars?
TOBY
Like 500 dollars. Japanese people kill for old Nikes.
BREE
Then you probably should avoid wearing them in Japan.
TOBY
Yeah, I'd probably be, like, disemboweled by a ninja.
BREE
You don't have to say "like". "Probably disemboweled by a ninja" is sufficient.
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