Continuing the long cinematic tradition of men dressing in drag to better advance their personal situation, Hurricane Bianca travels down a very familiar path. All the tropes of one would expect from this type of film are on display, right down to the seemingly straight man who is inexplicably unable to see that the woman he is falling for may not be a woman at all. Thankfully though, underneath its conventional looking wig is a fiery personality that refuses to play nice.
In need of a job, Richard (Roy Haylock, better known as RuPaul’s Drag Race season six winner Bianca Del Rio) accepts a teaching position in a small Texas town. Before the chalk dust on the blackboard can even settle, the idealistic teacher is fired for simply being gay. Determined to be the best educator he can be, Richard returns to the school disguised as Bianca to re-apply for the now vacant position. Not letting anyone, including the evil-vice principal, Deborah (Rachel Dratch), stand in her way, Bianca’s presence turns the school upside down.
Playing like a camp hybrid of Tootsie and To Sir With Love, Matt Kugelman’s directorial debut is more concerned with making the audiences laugh than it is with delivering a deep social message. Hurricane Bianca may promote the need for acceptance of others; however, it works best as a hilarious showcase for Bianca Del Rio’s comedic timing. Delivering sly digs at friends and foes alike, it is easy to see why the character became a fan favourite on television. The fact that the likes of Alan Cumming, Margaret Cho and RuPaul are reduced to blink and you’ll miss them cameos, further speaks to the kinetic presence of Del Rio.
As cutting as some of the insults may be, Hurricane Bianca never loses its sense of heart. Never taking itself too seriously, the film will please fans of Bianca Del Rio and garner her some new ones in the process.
Saturday, June 3, 7:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Tickets can be purchased at the Inside Out website.