The Women (2008)
Wealthy Mary Haines (Meg Ryan) doesn't know that her Husband is seeing shopgirl Crystal Allen (Eva Mendes). Her friends Sylvia Fowler (Annette Bening) and Edie Cohen (Debra Messing) hear this juicy piece of gossip from a manicurist and maliciously arrange for Mary to hear the same gossip. They suggest Mary go and try the "Jungle Red" nail polish from the gossip-spreading manicurist. Mary soon makes the unsettling discovery that not only is her Husband cheating on her but her friends aren't being all that friendly. And, the fun begins.
This film is a reboot of the 1939 version directed by the legendary George Cukor. It was deemed a classic and is believed to be the first film made with an all Female cast. And, interestingly, the 2008 script was taken from the original script written by Clare Booth Luce and edited by Diane English.
It was always going to be tough for me to review this version of the film. The Women 1939 had a lot going for it and is a much loved and eminently watchable film and undeniably a personal favourite.
Sadly, the 2008 version is immediately forgettable. I would suggest that they were trying too hard with the slapstick and it didn't quite work for them. Oh, except Jada Pinkett Smith who was hilarious as the token lesbian.
Stand out performance from Candice Bergen, as Mary's Mother, who eventually succumbs to plastic surgery with entertaining results.
I have the feeling Bette Midler's scenes, as Leah Miller, appear to have been trimmed down substantially which is a shame because comedy is her shtick.
The 1939 film had some great comedic actors, like Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Joan Crawford and The First Lady of MGM herself, Norma Shearer. No beating those dames.
The first inkling for me that I was less than impressed with this film was the male child born at the end of the film. In effect, the women thumbed their noses at a Hollywood Golden Age film by having a male on screen.
Diane English fought for 15 years to reboot this film. It's understandable; the original had feisty women, slapstick comedy and a look at 1930s pop culture. Combine that with a top director and scriptwriter and the 2008 version comes out a very poor second.