Review of “Fishnet”

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Fishnet is an outrageous, burlesque-fueled romp that combines elements of Thelma and Louise and Sister Act, with a camp factor approaching near-John Waters levels. With a delightfully over-the-top cast and a plot that would make any 80s screenwriter proud, it’s the goofiest lesbian movie this side of Better Than Chocolate. It’s also one of the most fun, with a surprisingly touching story tucked behind all the jokes and theatrical posturing.

It all begins with burlesque – a good quarter of the movie’s run time involves dirty dancing – as our protagonists are professional burlesque performers. Trixie (Rebekah Kochan) and Sulie (Jillian Easton) are girlfriends, happily in love and gainfully employed by Lady Jeanette (Emma Messenger), an absolute cartoon character who runs the bar and the dance troupe.

After an initial routine complete with nipple tassels, we’re thrust into the dressing room where the regulars are properly introduced. Olga (Zabeth Russell), a Russian caricature with an accent straight out of Rocky and Bullwinkle, snipes at our leading ladies while Lady Jeanette fights with a mobster named Vinny, (Michael Cohen in full on Goodfellas mode.) In a panic, Trixie grabs what she believes to be a prop gun and threatens Mr. Mobster, trying in vain to protect her beloved boss.

Long story short, Trixie ends up shooting a few not-so-staged bullets at Vinny. She and Sulie take off to Texas, where the pair plans to hide out with Sulie’s folks, avoiding the law and the mob. Trixie’s none too pleased by the arrangement, especially since she has to pretend to be Sulie’s “roommate” while they’re around Mom and Dad – her girlfriend’s parents turn out to be hardcore conservatives. Meanwhile, Sulie’s little brother, Junior, is just about bursting out of the closet himself.

Dinners with the family turn out to be hilarious culture clashes, with Mom and Dad misunderstanding the meaning of “organic” and Junior gasping and giggling at every gaffe.

Soon, the couple goes out seeking a good time, and head off to a tiny local bar run by the rather charming Annie (Patricia Villetto). It doesn’t take long for the ladies to start dancing, and with Annie’s prompting, they decide to get an amateur burlesque group going.

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