Jan 29, 2017

[Movies] Hurricane Bianca (2016)

Some time ago after Bianca Del Rio won the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, I had shared news of a crowdfunding project for a movie starring the feisty drag queen. Honestly I didn't know what to expect from the project, but I was definitely curious to see how things would turn out. I'm a big Bianca Del Rio fan and so I was very eager to see her in a feature film.

Hurricane Bianca is actually a project that had begun before her RPDR appearance but gained more traction after her Season 6 win. It's pretty much a movie written around her drag persona, who's known for her quick with and savage honesty. The movie also features a number of interesting celebrity cameos along with some of the girls from various seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race.

I wasn't expecting the movie to be all that amazing but I still had high hopes given my love for Bianca Del Rio. I think the movie delivered in that regard and certainly had goals of its own in terms of the message it wanted to deliver.

Synopsis: Hurricane Bianca is a 2016 American LGBT comedy written and directed Matt Kugelman. The movie was largely funded through Indiegogo and other crowdfunding efforts and was officially released this year.

Richard (Bianca Del Rio) is a science teacher who moves from New York to a small town in Texas for a job there. But eventually he gets outed as a gay man and this is used as grounds to fire him from his job. But instead of moving back to New York with his tail between his legs, he decides to find a way to get even.

Thus Richard comes back as his drag persona Bianca Del Rio and gets hired as a teacher in this manner. How this works is not important - it just happens and Bianca uses her ability to spill tea and throw shade to put everyone in their place. And since it's a movie set largely in a school, it also involves a few moments of students looking up to Bianca as a mentor figure of sorts.

What I Liked: Clearly they wanted this to be a comedy with a message about employment discrimination and things rather worked in that regard. The movie clearly illustrated the problem and had fun letting Bianca Del Rio do what she does best in the context of the story. Plus Bianca Del Rio is Bianca Del Rio and she does quite well in this sort of a comedic setting.

I'll admit the cameos in this movie are wonderful indulgences, even if a little weird at times. The movie included William and Shangela as Richard's New York friends, although they're largely out of drag for most of their appearances in the movie. Alyssa Edwards gets a great in-drag cameo and a bit of a musical number to boot. And you get the likes of Alan Cumming and even RuPaul as fun insertions.

What Could Have Been Better: The movie's premise was a little thin and there's little more to add to the concept beyond what I wrote above. There's a bit of a romantic angle thrown in with Coach Chuck (Denton Blaine Everett) but of course it's an odd one. Then there's the active antagonism provided by Vice Principal Deborah Ward (Rachel Dratch), but her role felt underutilized with limited writing invested in the character.

And some of the supporting characters also lacked better characterization and were really just thrown in as people Bianca could insult or attack. I get the point, but could have been better fleshed out still. And since the conflict of the movie is centered around revenge, it does get a little weird to drive things forward that way alone.

TL;DR: Hurricane Bianca is a pretty fun movie that made of the most of the Bianca Del Rio character and put out a good reminder about the importance of legal protections for LGBT folks in the workplace. The movie favors Bianca to almost detrimental degree, but it's still a fun entertainment experience on the whole. Thus the movie gets 3.5 verbal barbs out of a possible 5.

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