Distributed By: Picturehouse Entertainment
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Okay, when I saw the previews for the movie The Women, I have to admit, I chuckled once or twice. But when my friend suggested that we should go see the movie, I wasn’t so sure. I have been known to enjoy a Meg Ryan film or two, but I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of Annette Benning or Debra Messing and wasn’t sure I would like this film. However, the week was a long one and I was in desperate need of a laugh. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
The Women started off as a play written in 1936 by Clare Boothe Luce, a comedic social commentary about the pampered lives of Manhattan socialites and the gossip that destroys their relationships with one another. This play was then adapted to film in 1939, a comedy featuring Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and Joan Crawford. The Women of the year 2008 is a much more up to date version of both the play and the movie and features an ensemble cast of Meg Ryan, Annette Benning, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith and Eva Mendez.
Meg Ryan portrays Mary Haines, a socialite who has put aside dreams of becoming a fashion designer to become the happy wife of a highly respected financier and the mother of a rebellious 11-year-old daughter. Mary’s best friend, Sylvia Fowler (Annette Benning), editor of a prominent fashion magazine, accidentally discovers that Mary’s husband is having an affair. She then tells Mary’s other good friends, baby machine Edie Cohen (Debra Messing) and lesbian author Alex Fisher (Jada Pinkett Smith). The three toss around the idea of telling Mary the truth about her husband when they discover that she already knows. Ignoring the advice of her mother (Candice Bergen), Mary seeks help from her friends. But when one of those friends betrays her trust, will she ever find a way to trust anyone again?
I have to say that, in spite of myself, I did find The Women to be quite humorous…sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. However, I must warn the fellows out there – this is a chick flick and that means that the movie contains quite a bit of female humor concerning the male gender. You might not understand or agree with said humor and thus, this movie is best left for a Girls Night Out viewing. Don’t be coaxed into taking wifey to see this film as you will be bored to tears. This movie can only be understood by the females and should be left solely to them. They can watch this film while you watch something manly like Rambo 57.
Now, back to us ladies in the audience – like all of the other women in the viewing audience at the theater, I laughed out loud at all the men jokes. But I laughed the loudest at lines delivered by Jada Pinkett Smith. I don’t know why this actress doesn’t do more comedy! She was absolutely hysterical in this film – her delivery as well as her facial expressions were perfect for the comedy genre. In my opinion, Jada Pinkett Smith stole the show.
My only real complaint about The Women is that it seemed to be a walking advertisement for various products. We see this more and more in movies. Gone are the days when the Coca Cola label is blocked so we can’t tell what kind of soda the character in a particular movie is drinking. Now, advertising is done through the movies, with companies paying a great deal of money to insure that their product will be prominently displayed in a film. In the case of The Women, the movie was a walking advertisement for the following items: Stop ‘n’ Shop stores – groceries are carried in these bags, Dove – make a game of it and see how many Dove products you can find in this film, M&M/Mars – check out that candy, Sacks Fifth Avenue – hello, the whole film revolves around this store. Now, those are just the few items I noticed. I’m sure our readers could find a lot more.
All-in-all, although the premise of this movie really is nothing new, I found that it was truly fun to laugh along with. Would I pay to see it again, probably not, but then again, I rarely pay to see a movie more than once (unless you count rentals). I understand that critics are comparing The Women to Sex and the City: The Movie. Let’s get real here – which came out first? Since The Women originally appeared in play format in 1936, it is quite fair to say that perhaps Sex and the City copied the premise of The Women. You be the judge!