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Review - Queer Duck: The Movie (DVD-2006)
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Queer Duck: The Movie (DVD-2006)

Paramount Home Video

Reviewed by Larry Jakubecz

 

Oh, my gay god! Queer Duck, almost certainly the gayest mallard in all of animation, has outgrown his (Internet) shorts and burst out singing in his own full-length feature, cleverly titled, Queer Duck: The Movie. If you missed it on the big Castro Theater screen last month as part of the Frameline Film Festival, fret not, as the fey fowl’s first feature foray flies onto DVD. And frankly, it’s fabulous!

 

The original three-minute Flash animation shorts were probably most widely seen following episodes of Queer as Folk on the Showtime Network in 2001. Five of those crudely-drawn shorts are included on the DVD, which could serve as either appetizers or memory jog. Best to revisit them later, though, if you’re already familiar with the set-up. If it’s all new to you (and, my goodness, aren’t you in for a treat), all you need to know is that Queer Duck and his friends Bi-Polar Bear, Oscar Wildcat and significant other Openly Gator put the gayest possible spin on anything and everything in their wacky world.

 

Queer Duck: The Movie takes the whole gay gang out of the cable closet and gives them an actual story in which to employ their catty colloquialisms. Like the earlier cartoons, it’s way out there in its bitchy banter and bad behavior, gleefully skewering a bucketload of easily-recognizable and well-deserving targets, and somehow manages to be riotously rude without being (completely) obnoxious. When QD (a.k.a. Seymour Duckstein) meets famous gay icon Lola Buzzard, and they fast become birds of a feather, he decides to go straight -- make that macho straight, dude. After a few sessions with Reverend Vandergelder (host of the TV show Born-Again Supremacy), QD marries Lola and leaves his previous life and partner behind. But does it make him a happy hetero?

 

Along the way, the film lampoons pop culture bastions like A Clockwork Orange, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and lots of Disney. Rosie O’Donnell and Michael Jackson appear via hilariously dead-on impressions, and actual celebrity voices are sprinkled throughout, including Tim Curry, David Duchovny, Andy Dick and Conan O’Brien (playing himself in a restaurant called T.S. It’s Monday --think about it).

 

Lest we forget, this is also a musical, with sharply-written songs satirizing Stephen Sondheim, Gilbert & Sullivan and John Fogerty (“Baseball is Gay”), with original compositions such as “Gay Day at Happyland,” referring to a beloved theme park.

 

If you want more, more, more, the disc contains a plethora (no, I’m not lisping) of extras that go into the making of the movie. The longest of these, “Getting Behind Queer Duck” (10:30) introduces us to the key players and tells how the whole project got started. If some of the characters sound an awful lot like Paul Lynde and Harvey Fierstein, creator Mike Reiss says it’s because those are the gay icons he, a 45-year-old man relates to. In addition to watching Reiss directing some of the voice actors, we learn from him possibly the most shocking tidbit of all: he’s secretly straight! Actually, the only gay component of the team is Jim J. Bullock, who voices Queer Duck. “The People Behind the Voices” focuses entirely on the supporting cast, wherein the ubiquitous Billy West (Ren & Stimpy, Futurama), Kevin Michael Richardson, Jackie Hoffman and even Mark Hamill demonstrate their numerous vocal talents. Shorter bits tell how Reiss (a former writer for The Simpsons) and Director Xeth Feinberg met, how Composer Sam Elwitt comes up with songs and what clinched the role for Bullock.

 

At 72 minutes, Queer Duck: The Movie feels just right for a feature film. Though unrated, it would probably get a PG-13 for a generous amount of innuendo, but the language always stops short of being really “fowl.” Put this on at your next couple of parties; its homo-larious hijinks will stay funny every time. This duck’s got pluck... and...  a few other things-- er, may I be excused?

 

 

2006 Larry Jakubecz/ Celluloid Dreams

 

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