Friday, September 12, 2008

The Women

“The spritzer girl?!”

The movie centers around do-it-all gal Mary Haines (Meg Ryan) who has time to work for numerous charities, raise her daughter (India Ennenga), and hang out with her best friends (Annette Bening, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith), but is the last to discover that her husband is having an affair with a “spritzer girl” (Eva Mendes).

From here the film follows the drama of Mary’s struggle to come to terms with the situation mixed in with “humorous” moments. Sadly however, aside from a short initial appearance by Candice Bergan as Mary’s mother, the film shows almost no signs of life whatsoever.

Writer/director Diane English struggles with the material and is unable to make us care about any of the main characters. The film is populated with cameos from many actresses; some like Bergan’s work, others like that of Bette Midler (in one of the worst performances of the year) do not.

And I have to feel sorry for Mendes, who even in a chick flick is stuck in the bland pretty mean girl role. The film shamelessly manages to put her in lingerie and in a bubble bath hoping to lure a few guys into seeing this fiasco. Don’t bother.

The film is your predictable yarn. There’s Mary’s mope-fest, the pregnant friend (Messing) who will inevitably go into labor, fights and make-ups, Mary’s reinvention of herself (spoiler - she straightens her hair!) and new found confidence with life, and a rushed happy ending that would make even Snow White need a shot of insulin. These elements could make for a good film; here they are simply recycled as everyone involved seems to be going through the motions.

I’m certainly not the target audience for this film, but I will say the women who also attended the screening were not largely impressed with the movie either. If the story interests you I’d recommend you save a bit of cash and rent the 1939 original starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland, Joan Fontaine, and Paulette Goddard (or check it out on Turner Classic Movies Monday, September 15th).

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