(By Joe Kukura)

Ready? OK!

Hey! Is that Michael Emerson up there on the right, who plays the sinister creep cult leader Ben Linus on LOST? And is that Carrie Preston on the left, whom we recognize from Transamerica and Desperate Housewives? And is that Chester in the middle, the lovable sexual predator of the burlesque cheerleading troupe The COCK-Ts? “Like, totally for reals!” on all three counts… as Frameline 2008 had an enormous cheergasm for last night’s screening of Ready? OK! at The Victoria.

The premise of this film is pretty much can’t-miss – an adorably outgoing 10-year-old boy decides to go out for the cheerleading squad at a catholic school, and has a litany of hilarious conflicts with cruel classmates, furious nuns, and his flustered mom. But in contemporary films, can’t-miss ideas usually do miss… and that’s why Ready? OK! is so exceptionally rad. Where you expect preachy and PC, it goes for silly and slapstick. It doesn’t try to be a message movie, it tries to be a funny movie and slap-happily succeeds. Dialogue gas are piled onto editing gags and topped with sight gags. They’re not all funny, but they do all work – keeping the plot engaging and adding humanity to every character. The laughs come less frequently near the end when it gets all redemptionny, but by that point this silly thing has you totally hooked. It is visibly not a high-budget film, but Hollywood hasn’t come up with a sweeter and funnier comedy than this all year.