Legally, poor confused Stanley has become Sabrina "Bree" Osbourne, although she/he is still technically "pre-op". She's gone through just about everything else on the road to womanhood... facial surgery, hormone treatment, and hip huggers that hide the salami quite effectively. However, in order to finalize the snip, snip, snip, she's got to get signatures from her therapist and another "outside the newtowrk" physician. It goes as swimmingly as fish school right up to the point that she gets a phone call informing her that Stanley's son is in New York's finest jail cell and needs someone to bail his rear-end out. But that's nothing to worry about, right? Stanley didn't have any children.
Prank Caller! Prank Caller!
Really the only time he'd ever walked on the straight side was that one liaison in college with... oh my!
Clearly Bree's therapist (played by Elizabeth Pe˝a) can't sign the conscent form now, especially when there's more than just one little thing from Stanley's life "hanging around".
Out of Los Angeles she must fly and in to New York in order to make sure this is all horse shit. But when she meets her "son" (Kevin Zegers' Toby) two things happen. He assumes that she's a missionary from one of the local Christian Outreach programs (a misconception she does nothing to dispell) and she realizes that the New York city streets are no place for this kid, especially as he's making his living hustling for gay tricks and selling more recreational pharmacuticals than Jay and Silent Bob combined.
So, into a shitty car they pile and give this movie a sex change from chick flick into a dude's road picture. No matter how hard Bree might try to drop Toby off somewhere along the way, she finds that her son (who doesn't realize he's her son) is very hard to get rid of for more reasons than one. Every mile of the journey is a surprise to the duo, not to mention to the entire audience!
Transamerica is one of the most uproariously funny movies currently burning up the cineplexes, and is pretty well not what most people would expect out of a transgender movie. The laughs are smart and rapid-fire, up to and including those deadpan lines surrounding Bree's transgender status (and the fact that no one around her knows about it). "I am NOT his mother!" she frequently says.
But this is also not your mother's comedy film either. The intelligent viewer can handle the subject matter, but there are more than a few scenes of penises whipping around in the wind, double entendres to make George Carlin blush, and more profanity, drug use and tense adult situations than an HBO Documentary!
On the other hand, this (sure as hell is stinky) is not a shock-value movie. In fact, it's as touching as all get out. After all, at core this is a road trip movie about a boy meeting his Daddy for the first time. It's a daddy with quite a lot of "baggage" (in various places), but that's what this is. The beauty here is the well-timed evolution of this relationship from "just get him off the streets" and "she's my ticket out!" to a strangely parental relationship filled with love, rebellion hate and sacrifice. As familial as this starts to get, the real boost to this movie comes as Bree and Toby arrive at her (supposedly deceased) parents' doorstep. Mom and Dad (Fionnula Flanagan and Burt Young) haven't seen Stanley since... well, before he was Bree, and are none too comfortable with the reasons behind his differences. Bree's little sis (Carrie Preston's Sydney) is glad she's finally not the "bad one" anymore. Oh, they knew about Sydney/ Bree, but seeing is... whoa! If anything Transamerica gets to be even more funny and more touching during these moments. The fact that they are traversed by Bree and her son together makes this all the more poignant.
A piece or three of this movie seems just a tad overdone and in-your-face, in spite of the fact that most of the comedy is dead-on and brilliant. Any flaws here are outshined by the great story, superb moments and an ending that could make even the surliest death row madman loll his head to the side with a blissful smile. Let's not forget the special guests we meet on the way like Graham Greene's Calvin! He comes off like your favorite song appearing on the radio when you're already enjoying your journey.
Needless to say, when it comes to Transamerica, it's the acting, stupid! While there's a whole shootin'-match propping this great film up besides just that, trying to imagine this being this good without Felicity Huffman giving it her all would be a work of science fiction, kiddos. Four and One Half Stars out of Five for Transamerica. Bree's got a secret like nothing you'll see on Desperate Housewives, but buy that ticket or rent that disc and you might get lucky enough to find out what it is. Just watch your eye. The best part about seeing this movie is that I've got my Halloween Costume for this year already ready already! The Joker, The Zombie, The Exorcist, and now it will be Bree. Man, at this year's office costume contest, I'll be a shoe in. And if not, I've got an ace in the hole to whip out and clinch it as my own (very) personal Coup De Grace! Better duck! See you in the next transreel!
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