It’s not often a feature film begins with a lead-in song about its main character, but Mister Sister, written and directed by Mars Roberge, does. It accompanies the film’s opening montage, which features a messy, vagrant-like drag queen with runny make-up and a thick New York City accent scrounging for food in waste cans and asking for a handout in Union Square. A bit scary-looking, the montage ends with a massive scream for help.
The drag queen’s name is X, though her real name is Jordan (Jack James Busa). Charmaine (Princess Diandra), a mama drag queen, rescues X. The drag queens give X a nun’s outfit to wear with a group of performing drag queens and dub her Mister Sister. With a newfound look and name, Mister Sister is off to a ball, a type of competition from which the group of drag queens steal its trophy and take off for a night of mischief. But, as Charmaine takes X under her wing, we find out X is straight, otherwise known as a breeder with a broken heart.
“…he finds his calling while pulling a stunt at the drag queen club.”
Jordan is a mess, but his newfound drag queen family, who seem to party and perform all the time, take him in where he finds his calling while pulling a stunt at the drag queen club. Mister Sister is not only funny and insulting, but his stage presence lands him a job. He also meets Marie. “Go figure the only straight boy in the gay club falls in love with the only tuna in the gay club,” says Charmaine. So much ensues as Jordan finds his way in this new life, even learning about what it’s like to be in a gay world, as it is not always laughs and elaborate costumes.
Through montages and many strolls on New York’s High Line walkway, Mister Sister is ultimately a love story, even if it’s dressed like a drag queen. It runs too long and too much in love with its music and montages, but there’s something about Mister Sister, Charmaine, and the drag queens that one cannot resist. Mars Roberge has crafted something a bit seedy or at least wants it to be.
Although Mister Sister lags, the real stars of the show, the drag queens, do not and are head to toe amazing. They take every scene seriously, along with their hair, make-up, clothes, jewelry, and dialogue. There’s a bit of a David Bowie influence to the soundtrack. But, ultimately, it’s Jordan who ends up as his version of Bowie finding love and friends in the eccentric group. Sometimes being someone else helps you find your true self. Performances vary throughout, but Charmaine, Jordan, and a bunch of drag queens keep this low, budget New York City indie film intact.
"…being someone else helps you find your true self."