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film review

Jacki Weaver stars in Stage Mother.Courtesy of Entertainment One

  • Stage Mother
  • Directed by Thom Fitzgerald
  • Written by Brad Hennig
  • Starring Jacki Weaver and Lucy Liu
  • Classification R; 93 minutes


1 out of 4 stars

In the predictable and unfunny Stage Mother, Jacki Weaver plays a Baptist choir mistress who inherits her dead son’s gay bar, rescuing the club from the doldrums by teaching the drag queens to sing three-part harmony and fixing their personal problems to boot. As her character moves from conservative Texas to swinging San Francisco, Weaver rapidly replaces a frown of anxious disapproval with a smile of gentle compassion. Maybelline will come to love this campy crowd, that’s guaranteed. The only mystery here is why this sensible and sympathetic lady was ever estranged from her son in the first place.

Her big idea is to get the girls to stop lip-syncing and start singing, but director Thom Fitzgerald only shifts the drag numbers from the excruciating to the unremarkable. Lucy Liu, meanwhile, is underused in a best-friend role.

When La Cage aux Folles first covered this territory in 1978 with its classic encounter between the gay parents and the conservative in-laws, it anticipated a social revolution. Today, homophobia may still blight many a queen’s family relations, but Stage Mother feels dated and formulaic.

Stage Mother is available digitally on-demand starting Aug. 21

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