The Women is no man's land

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by Vique Rojas / Flick Chick

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azfamily.com

Posted on September 18, 2008 at 10:33 AM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 22 at 12:49 PM

I've always wanted to make movie trailers. But boy, I don't envy the person who had to put the trailer together for " ".

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Originally produced in 1939, "The Women" was a witty drama with a unique twist: it featured an all star cast with not an X chromosome in sight! I liked it a lot but I'm not so sure the story is one that can be easily 'updated' for today's audience. Back then, a woman's sole key to status and security was tied to her marriage. These things were often even more important than true love. But sadly the world will always have trusting wives, philandering husbands, hussies on the make and wagging tongues, so in that respect the basic premise behind The Women remains timeless.

Mary Haines (Meg Ryan) is the wronged woman this time around. When one of her closest friends Sylvia Fowler (Annette Bening) visits a new manicurist (Debi Mazar), she gets an earful. Apparently the store's new perfume salesgirl (Eva Mendez) is quite the barracuda. She has snagged a wealthy businessman. Sees him every night. And guess what? The man is married! Then she drops the man's name. Turns out it is none other than Steven Haines! Mary's husband! Sweet unsuspecting Mary!

Soon all Mary's friends know but her. When they decide to tell her they find out that she has found out all on her own. How? By seeing the same manicurist with the motor mouth!

The rest of the movie involves confrontations with the mistress, separation, anxiety and ultimately revenge. Sounds exciting doesn't it? It ain't.

The best thing this movie has going for it is its cast. It is HUGE! From true star status: Candice Bergman, Cloris Leachman, Annette Bening, Bette Midler to popular actresses: Meg Ryan, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Eva Mendez, Carrie Fisher to familiar faces from TV sitcoms, the screen looks like a celluloid version of Who's Who.

But bigger doesn't necessarily mean better in this case.

Not that the actresses are bad. They do a fine job. But after waiting nearly 70 years to remake a classic, I think some miscasting was part of the problem with this movie.

Like I said the original was a witty melodrama. Roseland Russell as Sylvia Fowler brought most of the comedy to that movie. But it really wasn't a comedy. It would be hard to sell that concept today so Director/Screenwriter Diane English (Murphy Brown)tried to ' punch up' the laughs in her version. But the laughs just aren't there people. The movie starts incredibly slow. Though it does get funnier and better towards the end, that's not enough for today's audiences. and certainly not for fans of the original.

I think one of my main problems with the film is that it came off too much like a "Sex and the City" wannabe more than a remake of "The Women". Correction: a very poor "Sex and the City" wannabe.

Now the thing I liked best about this movie was that there truly isn't a man in sight! From the busy city streets, to fancy restaurants to high dollar department stores, zip, zilch, nada! This is a true no man's land! Another thing I like about it is the diversity of the cast. Not just in color but in age! How refreshing this year has been with movies for women, by women---mature women!

Don't bother dragging your man to this movie! It's no "Sex and the City" and there will be nothing, I repeat NOTHING in this for him. In fact there barely is enough for you, dear girlfriends!

See this at a bargain matinee price. Or better yet, spend your $5 renting the original!

"The Women" eeks by with 3 Red Vines for celebrating the Y chromosome

LADIES ROOM LOWDOWN: I went to a critic's screening of this movie and from what I overheard, I and another female critic were the only ones who had anything positive to say about this movie! Yeah. I was one of the positive ones!

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