By Merle Bertrand | October 18, 1999

That old saying “It’s better to be seen than heard” applies double to the stereotypical beauty pageant contestant. Capture them on film and these incredibly beautiful women are flawless examples of feminine perfection. And then, during every pageant’s obligatory question and answer session, they go and open their mouths. In less time than it takes to twirl a baton, their giggly, vacuous babblings transform them from perfect goddesses into air headed twits. Now imagine being stuck in a movie theater for ninety minutes listening to four of these bowheaded geniuses squealing and squawking in thick southern accents and you begin to get a feel for the irritating raw nerve that is “Tiara Tango.” Ostracized Miss Texas Gal 1968 Laura Lee Dailie (Jean Smart from TV’s “Designing Women”) receives an invitation to coach a pageant in her home state of Texas. Worn down by the insistent badgering of her smarmy but devoted boyfriend Lyle (an embarrassing Robert Wagner), she and Lyle pack themselves into his RV and head to the Lone Star State with her cute but dumb as facial mud daughter Corinne and two of her daughter’s friends in tow. After enduring this grating and phenomenally unfunny road movie, I can say without hesitation that we’d have all been far better off if the RV had plunged off the side of a cliff. What a mess. Writer/director Werner Molinksy has a much better sense of fashion than sense of rhythm, humor or direction. He completely undercuts his one and only attempt at high drama – revealing the circumstances which drove Laura out of Texas – with a handful of clumsy surrounding scenes played for laughs. About the only thing more obnoxious than the big-haired, bigger-mouthed women and their fake drawls was Wagner. He mugs for the camera incessantly and overacts even more than his female co-stars and that’s saying something. Worse, he actually seems to be enjoying himself. The only thing that could have saved “Tiara Tango” would have been a swimsuit competition. That, or the sound cutting out. Since neither thing happened and I had to suffer through it as a result, I hereby award “Tiara Tango” the Torn Sprocket Hole Tiara as worst film of the festival.

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