‘A.J. & the Queen’

Like the road trip the unlikely pairing make from New York to Dallas, A.J. & the Queen is a meandering, sentimental narrative that ultimately reaches its end point but with many a sidetrack along the way. 

It’s not everyday a 10 year-old streetwise girl (Izzy G) joins up with a Drag Queen. But, Ruby Red (RuPaul) has been swindled of her $100,000 lifesavings by her grifter of a lover, Damien (Josh Segara). What’s a girl to do but hit the road in her old and run down RV? Instead of celebrating her farewell tour of the East Coast, Ruby now simply needs the money. 

A stowaway is the last thing needed. Especially one that is 10 years-old. But there’s AJ, hidden under the frocks and wigs in the back of the RV. And to make things that little more interesting, Ruby’s roommate, the risque Louis (Michael-Leon Wooley), has reported the swindle to the NYPD. Revenge is on the cards as ex-lover Damien follows on the trail.

Over 10 episodes, A.J. & the Queen is strained and spread incredibly thinly. An engaging first two episodes taper off. The material is just not there. Side stories abound per episode – lots of trailer parks, the wet T-shirt competition, diamond fossicking – along with the backstories of Ruby and A.J. Along the way, the two teach each other valuable life lessons, but it’s all so incredibly clean and vanilla. It says a great deal when the sassiest dialogue comes out of the mouth of the 10 year-old, in spite of a Drag Club in every episode. Robert looks amazing as Ruby – and blind Louis has a voice to remember. Occasionally funny, A.J. & the Queen really is an unresolved meander desperately in need of grit.

Rating: 45%

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