Friday, September 19, 2008


The answer to this riddle is simple: It would be called The Women. Against our collective better judgment, me, Eric and Rob went to see this remake of the 1930s classic last night. The trailers looked cute...enough. The main draw for me was the cavalcade of lady stars, and - of course - the potential for it to be a complete mess. As a connoisseur of bad movies, I couldn't NOT go see it.

Right from the get-go, the marketing of this film has been say the very least. The ads (as seen above) basically force the idea down your throat to make it a "girls night out" and hit the cineplex. The poster may as well say, "Remember how much fun you had with your girlfriends when you all went to see Sex and the City?" Naturally, the female cast of hundreds has been boiled down to its Cosmopolitan-sipping lowest common denominator in the promotional materials, choosing to highlight Mary/Carrie (Meg Ryan), Sylvie/Samantha (Annette Benning), Edie/Charlotte (Debra Messing) and Alex/Miranda (Jada Pinkett-Smith).

I'll admit that as we were sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to start, I was a little excited. Mainly because it's fun to wonder how fast the train is going to be moving before it crashes. Even in the opening credits, you'd have to possess the brain power of a thermos to not understand what this whole debacle is going to be about. New York City (except it's filmed in Boston) women with lots of money, and the emotional shitstorms they can't buy their way out of. Nutshell? Mary's husband is having an affair, Sylvie finds out about it from trashy Saks manicurist Tanya (Debi Mazar), Edie has 648 children, and Alex is a blocked lesbian novelist. We're not talking Citizen Kane.

The novelty of a movie with absolutely no men in it fades pretty quickly, let me tell you. It did however force me to shine a light on myself - in the way that after watching a woman talk for more than 15 minutes about her problems, I tend to zone out and look at a man. In The Women, there is no such escape. There's literally nowhere to turn. It's like staring A Clockwork Orange-style for 114 minutes at Meg Ryan's monster rag doll perm, Annette Benning's craterous wrinkles, and other such horrors.

I had my first Vomitus Maximus moment about 9 hours in, while watching Mary have a breakdown to house/cryptkeeper Maggie (Cloris Leachman) and some Danish indentured servant named "Uta". Frantically searching the kitchen cabinets for junk food, she settles on a stick of butter, cocoa powder and a small glass of milk. There's dunking involved. It was one of the most revolting things I've ever seen Meg Ryan do - and I've seen
Addicted To Love. In what I'm sure was ad-libbed and completely necessary, Cloris Leachman downs half a glass of scotch while observing this mess.

There was a glimmer of hope in the vast darkness when Bette Midler showed up. Playing a platinum blonde, 5-times-married, psychotic LA agent named Leah could have saved the movie. But since it was merely a cameo, all it did was remind us cruelly that we weren't watching The First Wives Club. She did have one of the only good lines, though. Talking about her experiences at rehab: "I ran screaming from the Betty - twice."

The rest of the cast I'll just break down for you quick and easy:
  • Eva Mendes is the "vixen" who's having the affair with Mary's husband, despite looking like a tranny hooker
  • Candice Bergen is Mary's rich bitch mother, the complete opposite of Murphy Brown
  • Carrie Fisher is a snatchy writer working for a tabloid
  • Ana Gasteyer wishes she hadn't left Saturday Night Live
My second and final Vomitus Maximus moment came towards the end, when Edie is giving birth to yet another child. Child birth is a miracle, blah blah blah. I don't want to see it. I didn't want to see it when I was in middle school, and I certainly don't want to watch an actress - who's work I hope to enjoy in the future - scream, moan and push while in stirrups. I heard the word "crowning" and almost threw up, just like Jada Pinkett-Smith's pointless lesbian character.

Needless to say there were a lot of offensive things in this film. The reprehensible Dove product placement was sickening. It was at its worst when at one point they're actually WATCHING A DOVE the movie. But as things crawled toward a resolution, it was the message conveyed by nearly all the main characters that was the most infuriating. Maybe it
is our fault, after all. In the end though, it can all be summed up by one of Edie's lines:

"Any one of us could make a really big mistake."

Sorry ladies - it's too late.

1 comment:

"Mary" Scooter Ruffins said...

"emotional shitstorms" is my phrase of the week. love it!