July 17, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Notorious C.H.O.

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
95 minutes
Limited Release Date
06/28/02
performer
Margaret Cho
director
Lorene Machado
distributor
Wellspring
author
Margaret Cho
genre
Comedy
We gave it an A-

Like all inspired artists of stand-up comedy, Margaret Cho is an equal-opportunity egomaniac. As a bisexual Korean-American woman with an eating disorder, she presents herself as an upstart heroine of the dispossessed, yet she tweaks piety as explosively as Richard Pryor or Lily Tomlin did. She’s not a victim of anything except, perhaps, her own appetites.

In Notorious C.H.O., a concert film shot in Seattle at the end of last year, Cho, with a melodious Valley Girl voice just this side of sarcastic, goes beyond the confessional; showcasing her own follies, she’s gleefully, blasphemously invasive. For 95 often hilarious minutes, she riffs on the diciness of colonics, on straight versus gay personal ads, on how men would act if they had periods, and on the perils of a certain outré sexual practice (”I felt like one of the Muppets!”). As always, however, her greatest comic creation remains her own mother, who is brought to life as a blinkered queen of Old World innocence whose sputteringly obtuse Korean accent is like a joyful scream with hiccups.

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