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Notorious C.H.O

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Notorious C.H.O

Starring: Margaret Cho
Director: Lorene Machado
Rated: NR
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: June 2002
Genres: Comedy, Gay/Lesbian

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

NOTORIOUS C.H.O. is the second performance film by bisexual comedian Margaret Cho. Running through her usual litany of jokes about drugs, fatness, race and -- most of all -- sex, she is an accomplished actress who knows just when to insert pregnant pauses and when to scrunch up her face into her signature facial distortions.

Lately, she's been having trouble locating her elusive G-spot. ("Turn right just past the Shell station," she muses.) Even MapQuest proves to be of no help. She finally decides that it's all a hoax and that the "G" stands for "Gotcha! Made you look."

In her first picture (I'M THE ONE THAT I WANT), also filmed during one of her one woman comedy shows, she was as shrill as fingers across a blackboard. Much less shrill and repetitive this time, her act is more inviting to non-fans. Even so, I found it more cute than funny. I never laughed, but her routine was clever enough to induce a lot of smiles.

There is, however, a lot to irritate in NOTORIOUS C.H.O., starting with its painfully unfunny and crudely drawn cartoon that serves poorly as a warm-up act. It concerns the mutual distrust between black shoppers and Korean convenience store owners.

Another feature of Cho films is that, rather than cutting to audience reactions, they start and end with fan interviews telling us how good she is going to be and how great she was. She should let her material speak for itself, rather than inserting these gratuitous, gushing testimonials. Another mistake is a preshow interview with her parents. Since she attempts to get significant mileage out of ridiculing her mother, an interview that demonstrates how decidedly unweird her mother is just detracts from the subsequent jokes. Her mother turns out to be the most normal person in the film, no matter how often Margaret attempts to parody her.

This much you have to give Margaret, a self-described "person of color, person of size and person of intelligence" -- she isn't shy. She is a role model for people who would like to speak their minds but worry that their opinions are too far out of the mainstream. Margaret has never met a thought that she couldn't say or a sexual act that she wouldn't try.

NOTORIOUS C.H.O. runs 1:35. It is not rated but would be R for explicit sexual humor and language. It would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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