BetteBack January 6, 1989: Midler’s at her sassy best in ‘Beaches’

Corbin Times Tribune
January 6, 1989


BEIACHES (PG-13) From her very first scene, Bette Midler takes this movie, puts it in her pocket, and never gives it back. Playing a musical comedy star who makes up in charm and chutzpah what she lacks in perfect looks. Bette is at her sassy best. If, while watching her recent wacko comedy roles, you’ve wondered what happened to the heart-on-her-sleeve Midler of “The Rose,” this movie shows you she’s alive and well.

Alas, most of “Beaches” is dead on arrival. It’s a shameless hybrid of that women’s-plcture weeper “Old Acquaintance.” “Rich and Famous” (the remake of “Acquaintance”), ”˜Turning Point” and ”˜Terms of Endearment.”

Barbara Hershey – fresh from plasUc surgeiy that makes her look more perfecUy beauUful. but also less Interesting – co-stars as Bette’s opposite number, a sleek WASP princess who becomes an earnest, successful ACLU lawyer Following the friendship of these two very different women from childhood on. “Beaches” finally arrives at one of those tear-jerker climaxes that, depending on your tolerance for manipulation, will either warm your heart or make you retch.

Through it all. Bette shines. She sings several songs, with each arriving like a present for the viewers.

Lalnle Kazan livens things up briefly as Bette’s brass-lunged mother, and two child actresses are wonderfully effecUve as young versions of the Midler and Hershey characters.

A case could be made that the two or three best written (and most sustained) scenes in the movie are the childhood ones in which the two stars don’t even appear.

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