An unsuccessful over-the-top actress becomes a successful over-the-top authoress in this biography of Jacqueline Susann, the famed writer of "Valley of the Dolls" and other trashy novels. ...
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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 "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-1960s, 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 Susann's life, including her autistic son and her continuing bout with cancer that she hid up to her death. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Truly bad movies are a dime a dozen, but how often do they boast credits as outstanding as those found in "Isn't She Great"? What attracted such talents as Bette Midler, Nathan Lane, David Hyde Pierce, and Stockard Channing to this ludicrous script by the usually competent Paul Rudnick? What inspired director Andrew Bergman ("The Freshman") to add this piece of fluff and nonsense to his resume? It's no surprise that the film remained shelved for some time after its completion, and disappeared from screens soon after its release . . . unlike some movies that are so bad they're funny, this one is simply awful. Allegedly a bio of trash novelist Jacqueline Susann of "Valley of the Dolls" infamy, "Isn't She Great" plods along from Susann's (Midler) first meeting with the man she eventually married, Irving Mansfield (Lane, miscast as anyone's husband), until her death from cancer in 1974. Midler is forced to spend several scenes conversing with a tree she imagines to be God; moments the couple spend with their autistic son seem to have been included simply to keep the audience from asking, "Whatever happened to the kid?;" Channing, as Susann's gal pal, periodically flits in and out looking terrific but with absolutely nothing to do. Reality simply doesn't exist here. The newlywed Mansfields are apparently struggling to make it - publicist Irving's biggest client is Perry Como's ex-brother-in-law, a juggler, no less, and the highlight of Jackie's acting career is a one-time appearance on the "celebrity" panel of a TV quiz show called "What's My Job?," yet they live in the lap of luxury in a highrise, have breakfast delivered, and eat at Lindy's on a regular basis - long before "Dolls" hits the best-seller lists. Rudnick's script promises drama, but never delivers
Mansfield's jealousy of his wife's success, for example, is
suggested, but never developed. No one in the cast makes any effort to rise above the weak material - they either sleepwalk or bulldoze their way through scenes, as if they were resigned to this being a lost cause. Only one true moment is to be found in this disaster - during the premiere of the film version of "Dolls," Susann turns to her husband and mutters, "I HATE this movie!" . . . so believably that Midler no doubt is describing this whole, sorry mess.
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