All The Queen's Men
**.8 GM
Starring: Matt LeBlanc, Eddie Izzard, James Cosmo, Nicolette Krebitz, David Birkin, Edward Fox, Oliver Korittke, Udo Kier


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I attended the World Premiere of this film at the Mill Valley Film Festival. I will only be minimally haughty about it. Most likely because I'm writing the review for this movie about a year and a half later, and thus am likely to not be quite as adept as I should be at dissecting this film. That limits haughtiness.

I feel like I should say something, though, because it's an Eddie Izzard movie and Eddie Izzard is the cat's meow. Is anyone ever the dog's bark or the bird's tweet? I just hope I'm never the horse's whinny or the hyena's cackle. Those don't seem to have good connotations.

Anyway, this is my lasting recollection of the film - it's about a small group of British soldiers (headed, of course, by a "very special American" played by Matt LeBlanc) that go on a secret mission to infiltrate a German manufacturing plant and steal one of their code machines for counterintelligence use. The wacky mixup is that they have to go undercover as women to do it. Of course, Matt LeFriends is far too handsome and butch to be comfortable with the idea, so hilarity ensues! But it's not a full-on yukfest. There's an uneasy balance between the comedy and the drama that doesn't really fire on all levels, but it works on a few of them, and that manages to achieve a marginally entertaining status. It played like an old-school war movie, but with a battle scene or two taking place in drag, and the spin is not really done as skillfully as it could have been to showcase "the first battallion, transvestite brigade."

The levels it does work on involve Eddie Izzard, playing the drag queen that's much more comfortable wearing the gal clothes than anyone else on the squad, because he's the reason I went to see it, and thus the person I was most interested in, although he didn't get quite enough to do, in my view. Udo Kier also lingers in my memory as being fun to watch as the bad guy soldier that they have to dupe, but is more than willing to be duped because he's hot for one of them (he likes his ladies big and tough! haw haw!). I also remember James Cosmo giving a good performance as well, but I'm not remembering specifics, although I'm guessing the juxtaposition of the grizzled warrior from "Braveheart" playing a soldier in drag led to mildly funny jokes.

So the film was decent, but nothing really significant, and I may be remembering it better than it was because of 'world premiere excitement,' a condition that also caused my gushing praise for The Phantom Menace upon first viewing.

What I remember most about the experience of seeing this film was the awkward incident that took place right before the film started. I decided to go take a trip to the gentlemen's room of toilets and urinals to rid myself of some bodily waste that was ready to get outta dodge, so I left my seat in the theater and headed down the ramp to the lobby. On the way there, I noticed that Eddie Izzard himself was standing in the doorway talking to someone (this being the World Premiere and they were still searching for a distributor). Being an Izzard fan and attending the film with an even BIGGER Izzard fan, I was trying to play casual and stare at him as I passed without looking like I was staring at him. This involved not really staring, but just stealing a lot of glances. You know, like you do when you're trying too hard to be normal.

As I got toward the bathroom, I took a look back, figuring I was in safe staring distance. He was in full male regalia at the time, facial hair included. And he was following me. Wow, I may get to talk to him! I'm normally not into celebrity meeting, because A) they get enough sycophants in a day already and B) what could possibly be interesting about meeting MY lame ass that warrants me bothering them? What could I possibly say that's of any interest and they haven't heard a hundred times already that week? But this guy is cool. So I detect that he is also going to the bathroom, so when I reach the door, I hold it open for him once I'm in and make a little motion to usher him in. He starts in, takes a look inside, then stops short and goes "Oh," shoots me a quick look and then backs out. I look over and notice the bathroom consists of only one toilet and a sink. I give him an "oh, sorry" and let the door close.

It is as I'm urinating that I realize that that little moment of innocent mistake could possibly have been perceived as the absolute sleaziest attempt at getting anonymous gay sex with Eddie Izzard as has ever been tried. "Whoa, I wonder if he thought I was coming onto him? That'd be weird." So I start brainstorming funny ways to play that off and make light of that idea, but when I leave the restroom, he's gone and not waiting for its use, and I don't see him again until the Q&A session after the film, in which some freak that apparently follows Izzard around dressed all ridiculously and apparently trying to get his hand in marriage was there asking if he'd marry her, etc. This was a bit awkward, so I decided not to make things worse by raising my hand and saying "Hi, yes, we met briefly earlier, and I wanted to make sure you didn't think I was propositioning you for cheap gay sex in a bathroom. I'm like totally straight, dude. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay, but even if I was and I was going to proposition you for cheap gay sex, it wouldn't be in a bathroom at a movie theater like that - I'd probably pick a more conducive setting, but then again, I'd have to tailor it around your schedule and where I schmoe like me could run into you all haphazard like that, which limits the options, but it would also probably come off as stalking you which, let's face it, it probably would be, and stalking just really isn't my M.O., you know? That's all if I was gay, of course, which I am not, actually, so don't worry about that. I just didn't realize the bathroom only had one toilet, so that was a little weird. Sorry, sir. Love your work."

So as much as I'm sure Eddie has forgotten the entire incident completely and written it off as a slight mishap, in my paranoid mind there is the off-chance that I shall ever be present in his mind as "that freaky Mill Valley sleazy perv man." If any readers are ever talking to Eddie Izzard and he mentions a freaky Mill Valley sleazy perv man, be sure to set him straight Not that he isn't already "straight," you know - he covered that in his act. Most transvestites fancy girls, and just because he likes to wear women's clothing doesn't make him GAY, so you don't have to set him THAT kind of straight - I meant straight like in correct and - oh, forget it. Thank you for your cooperation. Good night.

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