Posted on 9/11/08 05:26 PM
Dammit. One day away from release and Carrie Rickey, female film critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, has gone and ruined the perfect double zeroes for Diane English's abominable The Women. What gives?
The Women, which stars a plasticized Meg Ryan, a good enough Annette Bening, and a completely wasted supporting cast (all of whom are female, following its predecessors' no-male appearances policy), is the worst movie I've seen all year. And I saw Disaster Movie.
The Women: Avoid At All Costs
It's loathsome not only because of its generic, tepid direction, pandering script, and complete lack of fabulosity despite Saks Fifth Avenue enjoying near-cathedral status to its characters, but mostly because it's an insult to womankind. Writer-director Diane English, who shockingly created the landmark series Murphy Brown, makes her feature debut with a movie so cloying and offensive it made my ovaries hurt.
The Women is, like the superior 1939 George Cukor film and the 1936 play by Clare Boothe Luce that it claims to be remaking, a tale about the insular and sometimes bitchy world of female friendship and rivalry. Meg Ryan is a designer who doesn't seem to notice her husband's cheating on her with a younger, sexier, more Eva Mendes-ier perfume girl. Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, and Cloris Leachman are the females in her life who will ostensibly help her regain her dignity through girl power.
Only it's not girl power that drives this gaggle of hens; it's plain old cattiness, cunning, and crying that our "heroines" resort to during the course of the film. Even worse, the scenes where we're supposed to be glad that Mary (Ryan) and Sylvia (Bening) are making up and rekindling their BFFship are themselves downright annoying. This is the kind of movie that gives chick flicks a bad name.
What one might learn about modern women from watching this film is that we're all over-emotional and catty, we're either desperate for men in our lives or lesbians, we have enormous internal struggles over balancing families and careers, we constantly shriek when in the immediate vicinity of our female friends, we love shoes and clothes (even if we wear dowdy, ugly ones), we cry often and together, and (in the case of Diane English) we make terrible movie directors.
Over at the Philly Inquirer, Carrie Rickey seems to have been okay with all this. "Intermittently amusing." "Watered-down, sitcommy direction." "The piquant sides are tastier than the bland main dish." Are these the marks of enjoyment, Carrie?
Seriously, I feel bad for this film's demographic. It was allegedly slapped into release by Picturehouse only after the studio saw the huge buzz around this summer's Sex and the City (and The Women makes painfully obvious strides to mimic the characters and plotlines of that mediocre femme film). This is the rare movie that caters to the most underserved demographic in Hollywood: older women. I shudder at the thought of my own mother sitting through this wretched film. She deserves much, much better, as do all the mothers of the world.
Read Carrie Rickey's lone fresh review here, then leave her a comment here.