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But I'm A Cheerleader (2000)


Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 16
Rotten: 31

Critics Consensus: Critics think that But I'm a Cheerleader could have been better. The acting is stiff at times and the plot is surprisingly unoriginal.

Average Rating: 4.1/10
Reviews Counted: 12
Fresh: 3
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: Critics think that But I'm a Cheerleader could have been better. The acting is stiff at times and the plot is surprisingly unoriginal.


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 40,525



Movie Info

Confident and opinionated, 17-year-old Megan is far too strong-willed for her unsuppportive parents, who begin to worry she is a lesbian. Their solution is to send Megan to 'True Directions,' a "rehabilitation camp" run by homophobic counselor Mary Brown. Soon Megan meets the equally defiant Graham, and the two form a fast friendship. Ironically, the more time Megan spends at the camp, the more she begins to question just how fixed her sexuality really is.

R (for strong language and sexual content involving teens)
Directed By:
Written By:
Brian Wayne Peterson
In Theaters:
Oct 3, 2000
Box Office:
Lions Gate Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for But I'm A Cheerleader

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (31) | DVD (12)

Broadly conceived and schematically directed (or is it non-directed?), this is a shallow satire, basically a short extended into feature length movie, about a rehabilitation camp for gays and lesbians that wastes the talent of Natasha Lyons.

Full Review… | May 10, 2006
Top Critic

Gay love satire for mature older teens and up.

Full Review… | December 18, 2010
Common Sense Media

Very quickly grows repetitive and groan-inducing.

Full Review… | January 7, 2010

The movie blows it by (A) trading in witless stereotypes and (B) not being remotely funny.

Full Review… | August 11, 2007

But I'm a Cheerleader may seem too elementary to a sophisticated crowd

Full Review… | May 11, 2003
Movie Magazine International

Will put girls off the proffession forever. An utter mess of a movie.

September 19, 2002

A trashy, pandering camp homage to the cute quirks of homosexuality.

Full Review… | March 8, 2002
Matinee Magazine

A candy-coated, completely negligible bit of fluff that plays like emasculated John Waters.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Film Journal International

The one-joke movie is cute but rarely funny.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Internet Reviews

It is just as torturous watching this film, as it probably is going through such an indoctrination program.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Most of the film's imagination and energy seem to have gone into the clever casting.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
TV Guide's Movie Guide

But I'm a Cheerleader plays a lot like a sitcom, only not a very funny one.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

It's the year's funniest, most absurd sight gag.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Examiner

Cheerleader is certainly refreshing.

January 1, 2000

The edgy dialogue keeps the film fresh, lively and light.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Hollywood Report Card

The way the film handles how gay and lesbian stereotypes ... is both charming and funny.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

The struggles of gay teenagers are handled with vast humor, insight and honesty.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for But I'm A Cheerleader


This is a film that not only the gay community has rallied around, but most stigmatized people have come around to because not only does it satirize the gay community, reparative therapy camps, and prejudices, but also gender norms and roles. Director and story creator Jamie Babbit took on the world of the constructed gender role by not only openly mocking them, but showing what their impact is. Besides making fun of these biases against either gender, Babbit also makes the audience angry and insightful, bringing greater awareness to the issue of gay teens. The main character (Lyonne) is chosen to be a femme personality, shown as the All-American cheerleader, and that choice makes it easier for the audience to relate to the character and her troubles. Babbit also reinforces this concept by creating a color palette of pink and blue to show the revolting charade of gender stereotypes such as athleticism in men and household aptitude for women. The characters are all well-defined and always entertaining, the love interest is thoughtfully written, and besides having a message this film is also funny at every turn. Part of this has to be in the specific casting of the film, which includes a post-"American Pie" Natasha Lyonne, the always dark and sinister Clea DuVall, timid and yet not tepid Melanie Lynskey, RuPaul as a counselor, and Eddie Cibrian as the blissfully unaware Rock. Even Bud Cort and Mink Stole show up to play the parents. Everything about this film feels like its inspiration, John Waters. Besides the lovably kooky characters and sets, every one of these kids is treated with the utmost care and love. Being gay is celebrated in this film, and in the most entertaining way possible. It's encouraging to see a film that isn't catty or acidic with its comedy and knows how to show teenage gay characters in a positive light.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

A lesbian cheerleader goes to a faith-based camp to "reform" homosexuality.
When Ted Haggard claimed that he could essentially "pray the gay away," I thought that not only was it one of the most ridiculous things I had ever heard but that it would also work as fantastic fodder for satire. But I'm a Cheerleader should be that satire. It isn't. It ultimately fails because it reduces its homosexual characters to stereotypes that we've seen many times before, and the "villains," the evangelists who attempt to guide the main characters away from their tendencies, are reduced to hypocrites rather than earnest people committed to a social/cultural mission. Thus, every character becomes a type rather than a person, and the situations are so contrived and over-the-top that it becomes difficult to understand if the film takes its own subject matter seriously.
Overall, I like the idea for this film, but the execution was sorely lacking.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

The title is much more interesting than the actual film, which can be quite dull given its subject matter. Definitely could have milked it more for the laughs.

Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer


Very clever and very funny. I don't know why I had this listed as "Not Inteested." I've seen it twice already!

Michael S

Super Reviewer

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