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Guest Movie Review: The Women

Alternate Title: The Ovariad

Story: Wealthy Mary Haines' husband is cheating on her, and all her girlfriends find out about it before she does-- take it from there. The situation is the same as in the 1939 original, but it's been updated to showcase more solidarity and friendship among the set of wealthy females, instead of simply grandstanding the extreme bitchery that Clare Boothe Luce featured in the 1936 play that led to the 1930s MGM blockbuster film. More facets of the female sex are explored here, perhaps with a nod toward seriousness; but I think the audience expected more pulling-out-the-stops, ribald, no-holds-barred lunacy.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlxwcwESDkQ

Acting: Sit-comic for the most part, though Annette Bening stands out. Bette Midler steals her scenes, and there should have been more of her. They all do a pretty good job, though Eva Mendes needs more lessons. I love Debra Messing!

Trivia: There are (almost) no men in the entire picture-- even the crowded Fifth Avenue street scenes are manless! One of our party was trying to see who was driving the cabs, but it was impossible to tell.

Predilection: I really enjoy the original 1939 version starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell, so I was curious as to how this would be played out and updated for audiences almost 70-- seventy!!-- years later. I decided to not approach it as a remake, but rather as a film that wants to stand on its own merits, but many practically line-for-line scenes kept bringing me right back to the first version! I also am a big fan of dramas and comedies featuring strong female roles-- and I don't mean Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.

Critters: Some snappish nasty little bitches at the beginning, and Mary Haines has a big, red lovable pooch.

Food: Lots of plates of charity fundraiser-type edibles. Debra Messing is eternally pregnant, and is ALWAYS eating something.

Sex Spectrum: It's talked about and alluded to very often.

Blatant Product Placement: Marijuana.

Soundtrack: Mostly fashion show "runway" music.

Opening Titles: Shown over scores of shots of female feet walking, traipsing, and skipping along the streets of New York.

Visual Art: Not too noticeable; Mary Haines' home's interiors are very Connecticut, so there is "correct" art here and there.

Theater Audience: Lots of gay men, and a few straight women. Lots of laughing and hollering, and the occasional barbed comment flung into the dark. One woman told my partner how handsome he was as he held the door open for her; she also asked him "why are you going to see THIS?!?!" Little did she know that he was with me.

Weather: Beautiful Summer and Autumn days in New York and Connecticut.. a gorgeous panoramic dissolve of green Central Park turning red, gold, and orange!

Sappy Factor: A bit towards the end.

Quirky Meter: Bette Midler.

Squirm Scale: Unless you'd be bothered by Debra Messing giving loud, screaming, SHRIEKING birth.. nothing to squirm about.

Drift Factor: Felt a BIT longish, but ended just about ten minutes past when I started wondering why I never wear a watch.

Predictability Level: If you've seen the original, then you know the story. If not, you might still be able to see what's coming around the next perfume counter.

Tissue Usage: One of my eyes teared up at the end.

Oscar Worthy: No. Well, maybe Annette Bening will get a nod for Supporting Actress... but I wouldn't be surprised if Debra Messing cadges one!

Nit Picking: Because there are no men in the movie, Sylvie Fowler's fashion magazine employs no gay fellows; and neither does Mary Haines' new couture company. (What chance does it have of succeeding?!?! I ask you.)

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen-- it gives you a chance to see how all the actresses are getting along as they age, in close up: Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler, Candice Berg en... Meg Ryan looks great, I thought! But I didn't recognize Carrie Fisher. "THAT was Carrie Fisher?" I exclaimed when Kirk mentioned her part afterwards. "She looked like a middle-aged Jewish woman!" "She IS a middle-aged Jewish woman!"

Length: 1 hour, 44 minutes... a bit long as I mentioned above.