How serious can a movie be with a title like “Itty Bitty Titty Committee?” Too serious, unfortunately; certainly more serious than we‘re expecting from Jamie Babbit, the lesbian director of “But I’m a Cheerleader.”?
She’s still political but, with a script by Tina Mabry and Abigail Shafran, “Itty” is more like the strident feminist films of the ’70s and ’80s (e.g., Lizzie Borden’s “Born in Flames”) than either a spoof of them or a more measured discourse.
On the positive side it’s good to know there are still young radicals out there trying to accomplish something with methodology the rest of us have outgrown. On the negative side they deserve a better movie, although this one isn’t awful.
Melonie Diaz stars as Anna, sort of a pretty “Ugly Betty,” whose family accepts her being a lesbian. She’s to be maid of honor at the wedding of her sister Ellen (Marisa Ramirez) but she’s depressed about having recently been dumped by her girlfriend.
Anna works as a receptionist for the Twin Palms Plastic Surgery Clinic (“Enhance your body, enhance your life”). Leaving work one night she sees a woman spray painting the front of the building. It’s Sadie (Nicole Vicius), who says she represents a group called Clits In Action — C(I)A for short, with the I in parentheses in their logo to look like a vagina — and invites Anna to come to a meeting.
Initially Anna is more interested in Sadie than politics, but she goes to the meeting and starts hanging with the group. Sadie flirts with Anna but another member, Meat (Deak Evgenikos), warns her Sadie goes through about one girlfriend a month (“I was Miss February”) but never leaves Courtney (Melanie Mayron), the woman she lives with. Courtney is older and works with a more conservative feminist group, Women for Change.
The other C(I)A members are Shuli (Carly Pope) and Aggie (Lauren Mollica), a F-to-M transsexual known as “the man of the house,” although he still has breasts. “My parents kicked me out of the house,” Aggie says, “when I told them I wanted to be a dude.”
While Anna’s political consciousness is being raised, so is her desire for Sadie, despite Meat’s warning and Sadie’s reluctance to leave Courtney.
Most of C(I)A’s pranks are montaged but they make a major road trip to Sacramento to be a negative presence at a rally for same-sex marriage. The Christian right is already there protesting, but CIA’s slant is that all marriage is bad, being a tradition that oppresses women.
At least getting out of town gives Anna and Sadie a chance to hook up, and the presumed straight Shuli is attracted to hitchhiking, dishonorably discharged Iraq veteran Calvin (Daniela Sea of “The L Word”), “a fuckin’ adrenaline junkie…I like to blow shit up.” You know she’s either going to go to work for Jerry Bruckheimer or take C(I)A to the next level.
The climactic event involves Courtney going on Marcy Maloney’s (Guinevere Turner) TV show to protest a celebration of the anniversary of the erection (pun intended) of the Washington Monument. C(I)A gets in on the act too, and while their action is too absurd to be taken seriously it’s not very funny either.
That pretty much sums up “Itty Bitty Titty Committee,” a title in search of a movie and a comedy in search of comedy.
— “Itty Bitty” is set for release in early September.