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Friday, October 25, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

No dressing for success in 'All the Queen's Men'

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review


*
"All the Queen's Men," with Matt LeBlanc, Eddie Izzard, James Cosmo, Nicolette Krebitz, Udo Kier. Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, from a screenplay by David Schneider, based on a story by Digby Wolfe, Joseph Manduke and June Roberts. 99 minutes. Not rated. In English and German with English subtitles. Meridian.

It's almost Halloween, so time for something really scary. Consider this: Matt LeBlanc, in drag, looks a lot like Michael Jackson. Or, to be kinder, a bit like a much larger version of Winona Ryder, complete with a mustache problem.

Unfortunately, these are the thoughts that crop up while viewing "All the Queen's Men," a pointless — and mostly witless — comedy/drama about a group of World War II special-forces agents who, dressed as women, must infiltrate a factory that is building the Germans' Enigma code machines. Only women work in the factory, you see. So we watch the lads trying on bras and experimenting with lipstick and plucking their chests, and it all feels like a Monty Python sketch gone horribly wrong.

LeBlanc — whose red lipstick magically vanishes during scenes when he needs to look manly — slogs gamely through this mess, perhaps thinking lofty thoughts of "Some Like It Hot," or wondering why he and his male "Friends" cohorts can't seem to find their way into a decent movie. Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky doesn't help his big-name star any, letting the tone veer from slapstick violence to attempted poignancy and back again.

Really, the funniest thing about "All the Queen's Men" is a line in the press-kit synopsis: "They all manage to escape the factory, with Archie's parts safely tucked away in his knickers." Enigma machine parts, of course — what were you thinking? Alas, the line's not in the movie.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

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