For fans of some of America’s finest actresses, seeing a film with even one of the cast members of The Women would be a treat. But this remake of George Cukor’s famed girl-trouble ensemble film features Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler, Carrie Fisher, Joanna Gleason, and Candice Bergen–whew!–making it a film that fans of these terrifically talented women can savor. The remake may not have the cat-itude or camp factor of the original, but so what?
The cast’s chemistry really shines; friendship is thicker than water, it turns out–even stronger than the ties that bind women to their men. Ryan is the good-girl Mary Haines, whose husband, she and her friends learn, is cheating on her with the stunning femme fatale Crystal (Mendes, in the Joan Crawford role)–“a spritzer” at the perfume counter. Quelle horreur!
The other women rally around the hapless Mary, staging interventions, offering snappy advice, and plotting battles on behalf of their friend. But it turns out that Ryan’s Mary isn’t quite as fragile as she seems. Gimlets and girl talk–lots of both–go a long way toward getting our heroine through her crisis, and onto a new stage in her life that surprises her husband and more than one of her pals.
And the laughs by the appearances of Midler and Bergen, especially, are worth watching the whole film for. –A.T. Hurley