Women, The
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -3

Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith. Comedy/drama. Written & directed by Diane English.

This remake of a 1939 classic has a happily married woman discovering that hubby is unfaithful. In an attempt to aid and abed, her friends rally to her side.

Its a shame that the ultimate chick flick should be so superficial, crude and edgeless. Its not just that its not smartly written, its actually dumb. And is this the cause that Gloria Steinem and her crowd of bell-bottomed bra-burners strove for the right for women to be vacuous?

Writer/director Diane English, who has proven herself capable of injecting thoughtful themes along with biting satire into two TV series, Murphy Brown and Love And War, here addresses subjects such as adultery, finding yourself, dealing with the betrayal of a friend, mother-and-daughter relationships, and what it takes to follow your dream, each with all the profundity of a Taco Bell commercial.

That would lead us to the films lack of spiritual depth. The advice Ms. Ryans character gets to jump start her life is given by a habitual divorcee, played by Bette Midler, who suggests that she not care about anybody else. Put yourself first, she tells her. Our heroine takes the advice to heart. Whats more, the writer/director allows her to be emotionally rewarded for it. Some have convinced themselves that putting oneself first in order to find contentment works. Trouble is, its not biblical.

Any laughs? Any dynamic scenes? Hey, these actresses are some of the best in their chosen profession, so of course there are some nice moments. Alas, their best scenes are overshadowed by the rest of the productions perfunctory and cosmetic treatment of classic themes.

Id like to suggest The Devil Wears Prada as a DVD alternative, for its smartness and the performances of Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci. Crisp, sharp-tongued wit (rare in todays movies) and an Oscar-worthy performance by Meryl Streep (complete with a whispered delivery that sends shutters of intimidation down the spine of not just the films hapless underling, but of each audience member) highlight this satire of the fashion world and the people who populate it. The heroine has a sweet spirit and though she is mistreated by snobbish co-workers, she in turn gives them a caring respect, reinforcing the biblical lesson concerning loving the unlovable. She also learns life lessons about whats important: love and integrity. And the film reminds this generation that clothing style does, whether we like it or not, partially define who we are. Alas, again, we have a movie where the lead lives with her boyfriend outside marriage. It appears that in certain segments of society (other than the gay community) marriage is no longer important. And of course, its PG-13 rating does include some language though not much.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Picturehouse

Crude Language: In the original, as with His Girl Friday, the dialogue was both fast and furious. Few productions have captured that verbal verbosity. Certainly not this movie, where the endless bantering becomes tiresome rather than energizing. And yes, there are a few crude expressions.
Obscene Language: At some point during the I Am Woman Hear Me Roar updating of our culture, women began to equate the using of crude and offensive language with equality; therefore, each actress here gets to pepper her speech with abusive speech Youve come along way, baby
Profanity: Meg Ryans character barks out Gods name followed by a curse several times.
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: Adultery is discussed, but not glorified; the film hints at the destructiveness of infidelity rather than punctuates it.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: The original needs a redressing, simply because the culture has changed somewhat over the past sixty years, but the incorporating of black actress Jada Pinkett-Smith as a catty lesbian seems token and false; while there are no sex scenes between Ms. Pinkett-Smith and the actress playing her lover, the lifestyle is accepted and promoted to a certain degree.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Several sexual discussions, few in keeping with biblical teachings.
Drug Abuse: In one scene, the lead and another woman smoke pot.
Other: None
Running Time: 114 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teens and Above

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