Bit Of A Drag: Just One Of The Girls (1993)

Dave thinks this Corey Haim genderswap comedy could have done with more sass.

Comedies that dabble in a little genderswapping go back to the dawn of cinema – though it’s fair to say that it was the early to mid ’00s when they really hit their stride with the likes of The Hot Chick (2002), She’s the Man (2006), It’s a Boy Girl Thing (2006), and White Chicks (2004) (the latter of which even throwing race into the equation). In the decade prior it was less of a trend – particularly once you discount the queer-spiced perfection of both The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995) – so perhaps that’s why JUST ONE OF THE GIRLS feels a little isolated. It certainly explains the film’s title, with concerned producers hoping to tardily ride the coattails of Lisa Gottlieb’s Just One of the Guys (1985) which pulled in decent box office for Columbia. While Just One of the Girls is no stain on the video store landscape, it certainly falls short of the wit, vibrancy and cultural impact of its unrelated predecessor.

Sixteen-year-old Chris Calder is a talented musician who harbours the hope of a scholarship that will give him the chance to fulfil his dreams. However, when the opportunity arises to switch schools to take advantage of a prominent music program, he’s unaware that his new place of learning is home to the bullies that have been making his life hell. Desperate to avoid their lurking presence on the college steps, he adopts a feminine disguise to get himself through the doors, with the intention of a quick bathroom break to revert back to a guy. Needless to say, it doesn’t go to plan, and he finds himself having to adopt a whole new wardrobe to get through school.

The most damning aspect of Just One of the Girls is that it’s so unremarkable. The potential is there for first-time screenwriter Raul Fernandez to pen something with edge and with guile, but the result is frustratingly flaccid. Premiering on Fox’s Night at the Movies at 7pm on 13th September 1993, you might think it’s hampered by the need to cater to a broad audience – but that’s quickly snuffed out by the R-rated VHS cut from Vidmark, whose sole addition is a naked shower scene as opposed to the towel-wrapped version that appeared on the gogglebox. Further still, the aforementioned ’00s gender swaps all managed a PG-13 friendly element of sass, so Michael Keusch’s film has few excuses for its impotence.

Just One of the Girls is probably most notable for being the third and final team-up for the loved-up pairing of Corey Haim and Nicole Eggert. Both The Double O Kid (1992) and the markedly different Blown Away (1993) had performed well on video, but as ’93 wore on it was clear that the young couple were in the final throes of their brief romance. Eggert later went on to admit that her relationship with Haim was defined by a lot of nights spent in emergency rooms together.

If you do persist with Just One of the Girls – and I’d certainly not totally warn you against it – then one reward for doing so is the final reel realisation of Chris’ dad, who’s brilliantly played by the ever-dependable Kevin McNulty. His deductions and subsequent reactions offer the film’s few genuine laugh-out-loud moments, and if you get that far, then you may as well check out a brief Alanis Morissette cameo that I suspect she’d like to remain buried forever.

Also known as ‘Anything For Love’ and ‘He’s My Girl II’ (presumably to cash-in on a then very popular Meat Loaf hit and the original 1987 T.K. Carter/David Hallyday vehicle, respectively).

Canada, USA ● 1993 ● Comedy ● 91mins

Corey Haim, Nicole Eggert, Cameron Bancroft, Lochlyn Munro, Alanis Morissette ● Dir. Michael Keusch ● Wri. Raul Fernandez

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