It would seem unreasonable to suspect that anyone who saw last year’s Country Strong thought that the film would be improved with some jokes about mental retardation, but here we are. Coming from documentary duo Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke, Queens of Country has one of those on-paper pedigrees that sound like comedic magic — a cast that includes Lizzy Caplan,Ron Livington, and Joe Lo Truglio, a plot that sounds both sorta silly and kinda touching, and a score written by Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock.
And then there’s whatever in sweet Hell this is.
Caplan stars as Jolene Gillis, “the prettiest girl in a small Arizona town” who is obsessed with classic country jams (we’re talking all those real queens of country — Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton — so at least there’s a smattering of truth in the film’s title). When Jolene finds an iPod stuffed with all her favorite songs (and more), she becomes stuck on the idea that the iPod’s owner is her soul mate, and she sets out to find him. Of course, Jolene’s boyfriend (played by Ron Livingston) doesn’t take too kindly to this idea, and hires nerdy Bobby Angel (played by none other than Tool lead singer Maynard James Keenan) to pose as the iPod owner.
The trailer for Queens of Country is the equivalent of placing your body in front of a row of country line dancers and letting them kick, grapevine, kick, stomp, and kick your limp form. Repeatedly. Do si do! Caplan almost looks like she’s spoofing her own character, what with her costume-y country dress and bouffant, but all that bedazzled potential humor is tossed out the Ford Silverado window once she starts crying. Also, once Maynard James Keenan plays a character that is, at best, challenged. Also, that’s Joe Lo Truglio in drag. Also, you might start praying to Garth Brooks that someone will throw a Stetson over your face so you don’t have to watch another second of Queens of Country, even by way of marketing material.