First Wives Club, The

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1

College chums who have drifted apart are reunited by unfortunate circumstances in this satirical comedy about women callously dumped by unfaithful husbands. Now in their mid-40s, Brenda (Bette Midler), Elise (Goldie Hawn) and Annie (Diane Keaton) see each other for the first time in years. But it's at the funeral of another college friend who committed suicide when her husband divorced her to take up with a younger woman. Elise and Brenda are dealing with the exact same problem, and it isn't long before Annie discovers that the separation from her husband is also going to be permanent. The trio, all faithful women who helped their spouses create hugely successful businesses, join forces and develop a plan that will help them gain some measure of revenge. Although the preparations prove to be more interesting than the ladies' ultimate triumph, there are some funny moments. Audiences, especially women, will be drawn by the star power of the three famous lead actresses. Hawn, playing a film star uncomfortable with growing older, creates the most memorable character, although this slight variation on her real life isn't much of a stretch. Midler and Keaton's roles aren't quite as colorful, but the comic chemistry of the stars should still entertain.

The schemes of THE FIRST WIVES CLUB aren't unethical, as the women only take advantage of their husbands' real transgressions. Nevertheless, this vindictiveness could be regarded as anti-Biblical (Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath Romans 12:19). The dialogue includes one obscenity and several crude words, while God's name is used in vain five times and employed in nearly three dozen exclamatory phrases. The homosexual lifestyle is endorsed, as Annie's daughter Chris announces that she's a lesbian and her mother essentially says it's okay. Later when the women visit a lesbian dance club to find Chris, Annie tells some of the patrons I think you're terrific! Except for a scene where sex is implied when Annie is briefly reunited with her estranged husband, the film has no other sexual content. Elise is an alcoholic early in the film, but she sobers up with encouragement from her friends. With its revenge-oriented story and pro-homosexual stance, however, THE FIRST WIVES CLUB frequently projects the wrong messages in its efforts to generate laughs.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Paramount Pictures, 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023-7780

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (8) times - Mild 4, Moderate 4

Obscene Language: One time (s-word)

Profanity: Many (38) times - Regular 5 (G 3, J 1, for God's sake 1), Exclamatory 33 (Oh my God 18, Oh God 15)

Violence: Once - Mild (women slap each other)

Sex: Implied once (married couple)

Nudity: None; Near nudity - several times (low-cut and revealing clothes)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Smoking, alcohol drinking (often excessive)


Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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