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On this Gay Day | ‘Connie and Carla’ made its debut

Comedy film Connie and Carla celebrates its 20th anniversary today.

Released in 2004 the film was not a huge success at the box office, and critics panned it. Over the year’s though it has found an audience and some loyal fans.

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Directed by Michael Lembeck and staring Nia Vardalos and Australian actor Toni Collett, the film’s plot revolves around Connie and Carla, two friends and aspiring performers who witness a murder and go on the run to avoid the mob.

They end up hiding out by disguising themselves as drag queens and joining a drag queen revue.

As they immerse themselves in the world of drag, they find acceptance and success, but they must also navigate the challenges of keeping their true identities hidden.

Along the way, they form deep bonds with their newfound drag queen friends and learn important lessons about friendship, authenticity, and self-acceptance.

Connie and Carla received mixed reviews from critics but has gained a cult following over the years for its lighthearted and entertaining portrayal of friendship and acceptance.

Toni Collette as Carla, and Nia Vardalos as Connie in the 2004 film ‘Connie and Carla’.

In 2002 writer and actor Nia Vardalos scored a huge hit with the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Vardalos wrote the script for the film based on a 45 minute monologue she’d performed on stage.

Off the massive success of that film, studios were eager to make more films with the Vardalos and she penned this gender switch film which is based on the classic Billy Wilder film Some Like It Hot.

Wilder’s 1959 film starred Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, who played two musicians on the run from gangsters, disguising themselves by dressing up as women. Marilyn Monroe played a love interest.

For the gender-swapped retelling of the story producers cast X Files star David Duchovny to play Jeff, the straight brother of one of the drag performers in the revue.

On paper it must have seemed like a dream cast, Vardalos was coming of the success of one of the biggest films of 2002, which had been a smash in cinemas and on home video.

Collette had a string of diverse performance under her belt with The Sixth Sense, Shaft, About a Boy, The Hours and Japanese Story among her recent works.

Duchony had just finished the initial run of nine seasons of The X Files and was eager to establish himself as a leading man for films.

Upon release the film was a flop. With a budget of USD$27million, it recouped just USD$11,300,000 internationally at the box office. Over the last two decade though it has earned the status of a ‘cult classic’.

Fans of musical theatre can find a lot of joy in the movie, it references a lot of different works from Oklahoma!, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Yentl, The Rocky Horror Show, Cabaret, Evita, Mame, South Pacific, Funny Girl, Gypsy, Hair, The Music Man, Grease, A Chorus Line and Guys and Dolls are performed during the film.

There’s even a cameo from the great Debbie Reynolds!

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