SIX CHICK FLICKS OR: A LEGALLY BLONDE PRETTY WOMAN DIRTY DANCED ON THE BEACHES WHILE WRITING A NOTEBOOK ON THE TITANIC by Kerry Ipema and TJ Dawe (Kerry Ipema/Toronto Fringe Festival). At the Tarragon Mainspace (30 Bridgman). July 13 at 9:30 pm, July 15 at 5:30 pm, July 16 at 8 pm, July 17 at 2:45 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN
About two decades ago, Charles Ross wowed the Fringe with his One Man Star Wars Trilogy, in which, aided by director TJ Dawe, he cleverly compressed all three of the OG Star Wars films into one hour. In Six Chick Flicks, co-writers/directors Kerry Ipema and that same Dawe do something similar with the chick flick genre, but impressively up the number to six.
The films they skewer are in that intentionally awkward title, with each film getting less than 10 minutes in which actors Ipema and KK Apple run through the plot, play the key characters and, most fun of all, critique the film for things like logical inconsistencies and regressive feminist politics. One running theme is called the “Rose Effect,” named for Kate Winslet’s character in The Titanic, who, because she’s written by a man, is completely comfortable posing nude and has an orgasm the first time she has sex.
Props and costumes are kept to a minimum; the artists find ingenious ways to suggest things like the massive door Winslet floats on in The Titanic, or the iconic lift in Dirty Dancing. The way they approach a film’s iconic lines, or cannibalize an actor’s IMDb page for a quick gag, is brilliant. And there are some deeply funny lines, such as when they describe The Notebook as “the same as A Walk To Remember, except for the ‘remember’ part.”
The performances are so sharp, and the pacing so quick, you likely won’t get every reference. (It took me a few seconds to connect a Law & Order riff in Dawe’s sound design to a casting choice.) One thing you’ll understand clearly, however, is a Roe v. Wade reference, which has taken on a new urgency and relevance in the past month.
While the company sends up the shortcomings of the genre, their obvious affection for these films comes through. This is pop culture parody at its best.