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Isn't She Great (2000)

R  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Romance  |  28 January 2000 (USA)
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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. ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Irving Mansfield
Florence Maybelle
Michael Hastings
Henry Marcus
Maury Manning
Terrence Ross ...
Radio actor
Brad Bradburn (as Christopher MacDonald)
Bambi Madison (as Dina Spybey)
Pauline Little ...
Leslie Barnett


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Talent isn't everything.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


| | |


Release Date:

28 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ela É Inesquecível  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,368,705 (USA) (28 January 2000)


$2,954,405 (USA) (18 February 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Jackie appears on "The Tonight Show" in 1966, the set and Johnny Carson's appearance are not from one of his mid-1960s broadcasts from New York, but instead from some years later, when the show moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s. See more »


Florence Maybelle: [about a necklace] If a man ever bought that for me, not only would I have sex with him, but I would *enjoy* it!
See more »


Features The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) See more »


Open Your Heart
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Produced by Keith Thomas
For Yellow Elephant Music, Inc.
Performed by Vanessa Williams
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

Larger than Life; who else but the Divine Miss M
26 April 2004 | by (fairview, nj) – See all my reviews

ISN'T SHE GREAT (2000) ** Bette Midler, Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, David Hyde Pierce, John Cleese, Amanda Peet. Before there was Jackie Collins and there was Jacqueline Susann. That is prior to the subgenre of 'trashy romance' novels found in your neighborhood pharmacy and the glut that is now the conglomerate superbookstore –i.e. marketing and focus groups for the masses! – there was Jacqueline Susann, whose bawdy, vulgar and tasteless novels were ultimately candy for the average American reader who gobbled her tomes faster than she could churn them out. In Andrew Bergman's look at the queen of the acquired taste, who else could portray a larger than life figurehead than the estimable Divine Miss M herself, Bette Midler.

Midler gives it her all with her trademark ball-breaking brio as the celebrity craven author whose indefatigable image fashioning was only matched by par by her long-suffering but ever devoted husband and business partner Irving Mansfield (touché Lane, making their onscreen presence a once in a lifetime pairing to appreciative audiences), who used all his show biz savvy – no matter how gauche or seemingly stooping manners of barnstorming the country to every podunk backwater stationery store or spreading the word to a busload of school children – to make Susann a giantess among the mortals in the writing field.

Based on a reminiscence by New Yorker's Michael Korda, the fact that the real Susann was no sweetheart and a real tough cookie with a few sad hurdles – her ongoing bout with cancer and the institutionalization of her only child who suffered from autism – are casually sugar-coated by Bergman (whose impeccable credits include a plethora of the comic pantheon including 'The In-Laws', 'The Freshman' and 'Blazing Saddles') and the sharply sticky screenplay by scathing scribe Paul Rudnick ('In & Out') wisely overlook her obvious flaws and instead center on the unlikely union of two borderline caricatures of the entertainment field, and their questionable romance. But Midler and Lane surpass the film's shortcomings with their theatrical overplaying, which is arguably suitable, as well as the always welcome Channing, one of our most underrated comic actresses, whose succor in her line readings are a stitch (when Susann belabors she doesn't know how to write a book, Channing says with aplomb, 'Talent isn't everything.'); she's like the salt in a margarita.

Also lending able support is Hyde Pierce in another variation of his tv persona from 'Frasier' as Susann's stuffed shirt editor and Cleese as the Nehru jacketed publisher, both in their element here.

The one thing that seems to be missing is it seems outdated and quite a lot to compress in a film that has the dubious distinction of telling the story of a woman who wasn't very nice nor well respected, but then again that hasn't been the case of celebrity history in this country, so I'm not even going to argue that!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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