We meet a hefty young woman who has the misfortune to be the daughter of a former beauty queen. Not only was her mother a beauty queen, but she has made a career of being a beauty queen from that moment on. Now she RUNS the The Miss Bluebonnet contest and also serves as the adult advisor. No one ever forgets that she was a beauty queen!

Director Anne Fletcher ("The Proposal"), working with a screenplay by Kristen Hahn ("Stargirl") which is in turn, based on Julie Murphy's novel, brings to the screen a predictable, yet unpredictable story. We are pretty sure where we are going, but surprised by what we find when we get there. Nicely surprised, I might add.

Part of Fletcher's cast:
  • Danielle Macdonald ("Lady Bird") Willowdean is whip smart but still subject to bullying from classmates. Her life was made joyful by a beloved Aunt Lucy who recently passed away. She is NOT fond of being called "Dumplin'."
  • Jennifer Aniston ("Cake") Life was unkind to Rosie when it blessed her with a daughter who clearly will not be able to follow in her lovely mother's footsteps. Oh well Rosie, check your weight and make sure you moisturize.
  • Odeya Rush ("Spinning Man") Ellen blunders into the Miss Bluebonnet contest because she accompanies her best friend, Willowdean when she registers. Ellen is loyal and steadfast.
  • Maddie Baillio ("Hairspray") Millie is the most irrepressible, upbeat contestant Miss Bluebonnet has ever enrolled. This plus-size dynamo is a good Christian though, so she hasn't told her mom.
  • Luke Benward ("Measure of a Man") Bo is the cook at the diner where Willowdean works. ALL the girls notice Bo!
  • Hillary Begley ("When Last We Spoke") Aunt Lucy was the saving grace in Willowdean's life. She brought joy, her love of dance, her circle of gay friends, and above all, her love of Dolly Parton, who wrote a few original songs for this little gem.
I'll take a moment to, once again, delight in the international nature of film. Danielle is from Australia, Odaya is from Israel, and Maddie is from Texas. I rest my case!

As we trudge our way through this PG-13 story (on Amazon Prime), we wonder how we will ever arrive at a happy ending that we can accept. We love the drag queens, we enjoy the bewilderment on the faces of the Bluebonnet directors, we relish the look on Rosie's face as she watches her daughter go through her paces and sure enough, we are able to accept the happy ending.

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See for yourself.
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