Elvis & Madonna (QC Cinema/Breaking Glass Pictures, NR)

dvd elvis-madonnaIt’s sometimes hard not to roll your eyes at the obviousness of the plot, but the film is so sweet and unpretentious that you really feel inclined to give it a pass.

 

If you’re in the market for a pleasant, good-natured comedy about a lesbian and a transvestite hairdresser/nightclub performer—and really, who isn’t?—you could do worse than Elvis & Madonna, Brazilian director Marcelo Laffitte’s first feature film. If it sometimes feels more like a television program than a feature film, and relies a bit too much on formula, Elvis & Madonna still has more than enough charm to carry the day.

Well-known actress Simone Spoladore plays Elvis, the daughter of a well-to-do family now down on her luck. She’s smart, rebellious, and cute as all get-out, and cheerfully takes a job as a pizza delivery girl (on her motorcycle, of course) to support herself until her career as a photographer takes off. Madonna, played by first-time film actor Igor Cotrim (he’s appeared in several television series), is a hairdresser and drag performer who dreams of putting on a really big show, but has a taste for men who bring nothing but trouble.

Elvis and Madonna meet cute when Elvis delivers a pizza shortly after Madonna has been robbed by her sometime boyfriend and porn film co-actor Joao Tripé (Sergio Bezerra), nicknamed “tripod” for, presumably, a prominent part of his anatomy. Both misfits of a sort, Elvis and Madonna hit it off, and before you know it, they’re on the road to becoming more than just friends. There are quite a comical few scenes in the hairdresser’s shop where Madonna earns her daily bread, Elvis’s bourgeois family makes an appearance, and you get to see a lot of the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.

Truth be told, it’s sometimes hard not to roll your eyes at the obviousness of Elvis & Madonna’s plot, but the film is so sweet and unpretentious that you really feel inclined to give it a pass. Charm goes a long way, in other words, especially when accompanied by a bouncy soundtrack, and it’s fun to watch a film in which things pretty much work out for the good characters and not so much for the bad ones. It’s also pleasant to visit a world in which the physical aspects of love are not matters for embarrassment, but a normal aspect of life.

Elvis & Madonna was nominated for several international film prizes, winning Best Screenplay at the 2010 Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival and the Best Actress (Spoladore) trophy from the Sao Paulo Association of Art Critics. Extras on the DVD include some deleted scenes and a “making of” featurette, both of which are in Portuguese and without subtitles, rendering them less than useful to the English-speaking viewer. There’s also a photo gallery, the film’s Brazilian trailer, and a selection of trailers from other Breaking Glass films. | Sarah Boslaugh

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