But I'm a Cheerleader deserves credit for originality; it's a comedy about a gay-conversion camp. First-time feature director Jamie Babbit shows a flair for actors and visuals — the film is a nightmarishly comic explosion of pink — but she's stymied by Brian Wayne Peterson's skin-deep screenplay. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan, a high school cheerleader whose conservative parents ship her off to True Directions, a deprogramming camp run by the commandantish Mary (Cathy Moriarty). Megan insists she isn't a lesbian; then she meets Graham (Clea Duvall), and she's sure she is. To dodge an NC-17 and win an R rating, Babbit had to delete the line "You ate Graham out," along with a scene that showed Megan, fully clothed, masturbating. Such sexual hypocrisy, still thriving in America 2000, deserves the good skewering that this Cheerleader is, sadly, too limp to deliver.
From The Archives Issue 492: January 29, 1987