‘Bam Bam & Celeste’
Now available on DVD
Here comes super Mommy.
She’s here to help save the day – and Margaret Cho’s vehicle “Bam Bam & Celeste” from suffering an unfunny demise. Too bad she couldn’t use her magic to fortify the campy flick as more than just a straight-to-DVD feature, because there’s actually a fun film that unravels, albeit in a sweet but silly tale that’s been told time after time (see “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” or “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”).
When hated social outcast duo Bam Bam (Bruce Daniels) and Celeste (Margaret Cho) flee their small Illinois town to score a spot on New York-based makeover show “Trading Faces,” they fall victim to a series of mishaps and morons. Cruising down the interstate in a bright pink car, spruced up in furries and feathers, they happily say farewell to their narrow-minded beginnings – “Goodbye to the one gay bar we slept with everyone in! Goodbye, cow shit!” they holler. As the flamboyant Bam Bam and his punkette pal stop to pee at an isolated rest stop, they get hassled by a grungy group. To rescue them, a “lesbian lone ranger” (a delish Jane Lynch) steps in – saving them from getting planted into the ground head-first with a bam-bam from her rifle.
Then, there’s the racist store clerk who verbally slams Celeste, and the ultimate showdown: The pals run into their high-school nemeses, who are now beauty-salon moguls on “Trading Faces,” hosted by a snooty nut (John Cho) and co-run by Celeste’s e-mail pal (Alan Cumming). When a falling-out between the friends erupts, English-challenged Mommy (Cho imitating her real-life mother, akin to her stand-up) jumps in her clunker, the camera focusing on her license plate simply titled “Mommy” (nice touch!), and speeds to Manhattan.
Between pressing Bam Bam and Celeste to “use condoms” with total oblivion to her daughter’s helium-voiced homo, obsessing over her “rinse-repeat” ‘do courtesy of Bam Bam, and mistaking “da bomb” for an explosive device, Cho and Daniels’ characters get run over by the zany Korean darling.
The empowering ending zooms by faster than Mommy’s foot on the gas, and wraps too easily and predictably. But “Bam Bam & Celeste,” which Cho wrote and produced, isn’t meant to require much brainpower, or clever twists, or smart storytelling. Just bad ’80s-fashion faux pas. Horrible hair. Silly scenarios. And witty one-liners. It’s enough for Mommy, in her muttered accent, to call it “so-cool.”