Film

Cutting Your Dick Off for Jesus

Transamerica: A Movie Without Balls

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Transamericadespite the buzz surrounding it—isn't so much a "transsexual movie" as it is something far less innovative: a road movie. It's simply more devoted to the road movie formula—that of two misfits squabbling in a jalopy at the onset of a cross-country trip, who come to love one another somewhere close to the destination—than to what it likes to think of itself as, which is a substantial story about a dude who wants to be a chick.

Played by Felicity Huffman, "Stillgottadick" Bree (once Stanley) is a loner in Los Angeles who claims her psychiatrist (Elizabeth Peña) as her closest friend and is inches away from her final reassignment surgery. But then Bree gets an unexpected phone call from Toby (Kevin Zegers), an 18-year-old who claims to be Stanley's son; in a move that can be explained only by a need to further the story, Bree's psychiatrist then insists that Bree go to New York to investigate.

But the farfetched, irresolute Transamerica doesn't stray one bit from the road movie formula. While Bree isn't initially honest about herself as Toby's father (it's a few days even before he realizes she's not all woman either), the duo quickly gets down to more conventional matters, like visiting intolerant relatives, getting their car jacked, visiting even more intolerant relatives, and heading straight toward a totally conventional ending.

Transmerica's actors, at least, are impressive—namely Zegers (who delivers the film's best line: "So, you're cutting your dick off for Jesus?") and Fionnula Flanagan, as Bree's disapproving mother. Huffman, too, pulls off a thankless role, never looking ridiculous. Nonetheless, Transamerica is little more than an already-been-done genre film whose sole plot twist is that it features a tranny protagonist. Unsure as to whether it's trying to be funny, poignant, or both, Transamerica—unlike its main character—doesn't have the slightest idea what it wants to be.

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