Rating: PG-13 for language, sexuality and mature themes
Run Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes
Ten years in the making and simply dripping with feminist chic, “The Women” goes for the gusto in the screen goddess sweepstakes.
And semi-succeeds. Messy construction, trite themes and an endless parade of verbal chestnuts can’t hide the fact that the women of “Women” are having fun.
Said group of gals are the kind of close-knit types associated with “Sex and the City”; disrupting hectic lives for daily doses of girl-power and forgiving all in the name of eternal companionship.
Mary Haines (mega-botoxed Meg Ryan) is the kind of woman others loves to hate; perfect home, perfect child, perfect marriage and a button nose to boot. Between high-profile volunteering gigs Mary chums around with best buddy Sylvia Fowler (Annette Bening), a glamorous, influential magazine editor.
Mary and Sylvia consider Edie Cohen (Debra Messing) an integral part of their set and Edie miraculously manages a go-girls social life between popping out babies and caring for her growing brood. Rounding out the fab four is Alex Fisher (Jada Pinkett Smith), a ballsy gay authoress struggling with her second book.
If it sounds familiar it is; “The Women” is based on George Cukor’s 1939 classic of the same name but targeted squarely at the contemporary “Sex” market whose ladies mopped up the summer box-office.
No males to be found but they’re up front and center in spirit. Mary’s husband Stephen is having an affair with a Saks Fifth Avenue “spritzer girl” (Eva Mendes) and her pals are having none of it, setting out to win back Stephen’s cheating heart.
Every cliché in the book is trotted out for maximum effect but I admit to laughing long and hard at some of the script’s more catchy notions, such as one of our gang being too busy filling in the cracks to actually look at them. Maybe you had to be there.
Clothes are dreamy (can someone please explain Ryan’s relentless procession of stripes?), digs are standard movie glam and the gaggle takes good direction from writer/director Diane English. Veterans fare well – Candice Bergen as Mary’s mom and Cloris Leachman as her faithful housekeeper – and manage to drum up dramatic credibility when the bubbles ultimately threaten to overflow.