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Camp Followers: Clinton Leupp and Jack Plotnick get wiggy in 'Girls Will be Girls.'

Harpies With Herpes

Richard Day's new Hollywood drag comedy 'Girls Will Be Girls' improves on 'Sex and the City'

By Richard von Busack

A SHOCKING EXPOSÉ of what Hollywood does to the fairer yet weaker sex, Girls Will Be Girls rips the lid off the chic mansions of Hollywood with their murky swimming pools, their theme rooms, their swanky, decorative oversized resin grapes and their ashtrays overflowing with bushels of lipstick-covered cigarette butts. Girls Will Be Girls pulls no punches against the seamy underbelly of the business we call show. You'll need a strong drink and an even stronger stomach before you meet:

Evie! (Jack Plotnick) Unemployed after being 86'd from the Hollywood Squares after that vomiting incident. A poly-drug abuser's poly-drug abuser, Evie has access to pharmaceuticals even Rush didn't know about. Lashing those around her with a tongue like a cat-o'-nine-tails, Evie soaks up the last faded glory from her greatest movie role, as a celebrity guest squashee in the 1970something Asteroid: The Movie. This one-eyed, false-toothed, black-hearted ancient former starlet is known to the international press as "The Hit and Run Hootch Hound."

Coco! (Clinton Leupp) Eve's housemate, whose biological clock is sounding like Big Ben. She's haunted by latent post-abortion trauma, including an evil ghost fetus ("Mommy! I'm home!"). Coco is tenderhearted enough to confide in Evie, who caws in derision, "I've had more children pulled out of me than a burning orphanage!" Now that the man of Coco's dreams has returned--if, in far, far less appetizing form ...

Varla! (Jeffrey Roberson) The Sharon Tate of this little valley of the dolls, a zaftig creature from cow country, who's come to Hollywood to be discovered. Innocent, nay, credulous as shit, she's easily tricked out by a Slavic "movie producer," Laurent (Hamilton von Watts), whose body odor is bad enough to warp time/space. Varla transcends the indignity of prostitution and becomes a successful infomercial star, much to Evie's wrath. Hence, the embittered drunken hag tries to interfere with Varla's romance with her much-abused son, Stevie--a good, clean, decent young man (Ron Matthews), who just happens to be hung like a hamster.

Girls Will Be Girls (horrendous title) may not be edifying, but it ought to be seen as a warning to those who dream of taking the fast track to glamour. Terry Southern, Otto Preminger and John Waters fans may be steeled for this kind of truth telling--maybe cleansing will follow. In the role of Evie, Plotnick is, well, divine. Plotnick, a sturdy character actor, is unrecognizable from his best role, as the reporter who did a command strip tease for Ian McKellen's James Whale in Gods and Monsters. I suppose cruel sophisticates could have a laugh at the shame and degradation exposed in this film, but they may shed a tear at the lesson Evie learns: "Audiences require a shred of humanity even in their game-show hosts."

Girls Will Be Girls (R; 79 min.), directed and written by Richard Day, photographed by Nicholas Hutak and starring Jack Plotnick and Clinton Leupp, opens Friday at the Towne Theater in San Jose.

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From the October 16-22, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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