For most Drag Race divas, their winnings are quickly spent on a dance single, a garish video, and a clusterfuck with a gaggle of rent boys. Thankfully Bianca Del Rio is not your typical queen. Vying for legendary status, Bianca has ditched the usual disco orgies and taken a completely different tack to post-Drag Race success. Enter Hurricane Bianca, her cinematic debut.
Most gays know Bianca Del Rio from her dominating win on Drag Race season 6, but Bianca was a star long before she set foot in the Interior Illusions Lounge. Bianca had begun crowdfunding for Hurricane Bianca years ago, even before she ever auditioned for the great race. After a plethora of fundraising campaigns, and a hefty paycheck from Mother Ru, Hurricane Bianca has finally arrived and it’s every bit the campy spectacle we hoped it to be. Equal parts To Wong Foo,Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire, Hurricane Bianca is an ultra-campy, feather light satire of employment discrimination and small town homophobia.
Del Rio plays the deliciously nerdy Richard Martinez, a NYC school teacher who moves to Texas for a teaching gig, only to be promptly fired when he’s outed as a homo. Enraged, Martinez teams up with a local trans woman to exact revenge on the town who wronged him. Martinez returns to school disguised as Bianca and naturally hilarity ensues and hijinks commence. There are gags, satire, drama, intrigue, and even a bit of skin via co-star Denton Blane Everett’s smooth twunk body.
In short, it’s good.
While there’s no doubt that Bianca is hilarious, I wondered, is she glamorous enough to be a movie star? Visually Bianca is best known for serving Mrs. Potato Head realness in a 90’s ball gown, so when I heard that she was going to star in a gay version of Mrs. Doubtfire, I had doubts that she could ever be that passable. I’m glad to say I was wrong. Though I didn’t think it possible, through the magic of dedicated hair, make up and wardrobe, Bianca looks the best she ever has. She almost looks good!
Speaking of fashion disasters, Rachel Dratch is a sight to behold as the Kim Davis-esque tyrant Deborah Ward. Dratch’s constipated, authoritarian pearl-clutching is one of the best parts of the movie. She is the perfect overdrawn villain and she has a wardrobe to match. It’s astonishing that the filmmakers ever managed to find such a thorough collection of tacky, dated selections of Sears’s formalwear. They must have raided Lady Bunny’s closet. The costumers deserve an Oscar, or at least a Grabby, for Dratch’s incredible ensembles.
Del Rio is joined by Drag Race alums Willam, Shangela, Joslyn Fox, and Alyssa Edwards in the film. I have to say, Bianca put these queens to work: Willam plays a slutty himbo, Shangela plays a sassy drag queen, Joslyn plays a bar queen named Joslyn, and Alyssa Edwards plays a drawling southern chanteuse. Astonishing. I’ve never seen such range. Fuck Meryl Streep; these queens are redefining versatility. Someone better get a Golden Globe out of this or I’m rioting.
Look, this isn’t Annie Hall or The Royal Tenebaums, but it is better than White Chicks, and that’s the standard by which I judge drag queen comedies. The film doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know about homophobia or employment discrimination, but it’s funny and hopefully it will reignite a conversation about ENDA in the complacent, post-marriage equality gay community.
It’s good to see a queen broaden the scope of what Drag Race girls can do. Hopefully her example will encourage other Drag Race winners to create their own productions. While I won’t hold my breath for Tyra Sanchez’ film debut (sorry, a webcam show doesn’t count as a movie), it’ll be interesting to see how other Drag Race winners up their game following Bianca’s success. Hurricane Bianca was almost entirely crowdfunded and it shows what can be accomplished when the drag community comes together to support a project. This is only the beginning. Picture it: Bob the Drag Queen in B.A.P.S. 2, Sharon Needles in Bathhouse of Horror, Kim Chi in The Joy Fuck Club. Get those Kickstarter drives going ladies and make it happen!