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An unsuccessful over-the-top actress becomes a successful over-the-top authoress in this biography of Jacqueline Susann, the famed writer of "The Valley Of The Dolls" and other trashy novels. Facing a failing career, Susann meets a successful promoter who becomes her husband. After several failures to place her in commercials and a TV quiz show, he hits upon the idea for her to become a writer. In the pre-60's, her books were looked upon as trash and non-printable. But then the sexual revolution hit and an audience was born for her books. The story shows the hidden behind the scenes story of Susan's life, including her autistic son and her continuing bout with cancer that she hid up to her death. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A good way to gauge the end results of this film disaster would be to temporarily resurrect the personage of Jacqueline Susann to get her reaction. I think she would have laughed it off the screen, but not amused laughter: aching, bitter, cynical laughter. I don't see it as a camp film ("Valley of the Dolls" was a camp film); this is a pure, unadulterated error in judgment by many talented people with honorable intentions. The picture looks good and has the nice addition of Burt Bacharach's music score (with the occasional Dionne Warwick vocal--natch), but it is unbearably miscast. When was the last time you can remember Bette Midler failing to ignite on screen (her TV sitcom not accepted)? Bette strains for a low-key effect in the serious moments, but it's just not in her to be pensive; her raucous scenes also derail, and this is due in part to poor direction, poor editing choices, and also poor judgment from Midler, who lets herself be seen on-camera struggling (a struggling comedienne is about as funny as a drowning one--here she does both). A sequence in the film that has hubby-to-be Irving Mansfield following Jackie into a NYC lake is both outrageous and deadening. The factually-incorrect script aside, "Isn't She Great" (no question mark?) is quite simply a beleaguered movie: vapid, colorless, unfocused, and out-of-touch. Susann might've asked what her 'cut' was and then forgot the entire thing. *1/2 from ****
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