Ladies of the house is a movie that shows how building a house together can make an unbreakable bond between three women and save their marriages.

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(as Karen Lagasse Struck)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rose Olmstead
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Elizabeth
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Birdie
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Stan
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Richard
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Junior
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Pastor Wesley
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Manny
Bob Bledsoe ...
George
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Building Inspector
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Tracy
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Amelia (as Judy Baldwin)
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Host
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Doctor
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Storyline

Ladies of the house is a movie that shows how building a house together can make an unbreakable bond between three women and save their marriages.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Renovating Their Mind, Soul and House

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Drama

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18 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A szeretet háza  »

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1.78 : 1
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Poorly written, boring story
24 August 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The film centers around 3 women: Rose (Henderson), Birdie (Grier), and Elizabeth (Mills). They have been asked by their church pastor to "fix-up" a house that was donated to the church. The church plans to sell the house and use the proceeds to save their struggling day care program. The notion that it is ridiculous to expect three women with no experience to renovate this house is briefly touched upon, but explained away by the pastor when he tells the women they are his "go to" people. The women agree to do the work, because if they don't, the day care will run out of funds in six months - and then what will happen to those poor children??

The women don't have lives or personalities of their own independent of their husbands.

Rose's husband, Frank (Henriksen), is retired and spends his days gardening and giving sage advice on life.

Birdie's husband, Stan (Roundtree), is newly retired and doesn't know what to do with himself. He can't understand why Birdie would agree to help out the church when he worked all those years so he could retire and spend time with her. He's selfish and crabby and all their interactions are awkward.

Elizabeth's husband, Richard (Thomson), is a very wealthy business man and sees no point in Elizabeth wasting time on such a dinky project. He's a cheater and a control freak.

The women set about the task of fixing the house, but don't own tools, or know how to use them. There is a fairly lengthy sequence of them making a list of what is needed and then assigning tasks to each other. Buying a "how-to" book is lower on the list than I would have put it, and it appears they never do get it because they are still asking which nails to use halfway through the film. They don't ask anyone for help on the house (even though two of their husbands are retired) apart from the hardware store guy - the only male on earth who thinks they have the capability to do the work.

We don't really see the women actually working on fixing the house - aside from tearing down one cabinet and then a musical montage scene where they dance and apply putty to the wall. They hardly ever wear clothes that would be appropriate for construction, and are never really seen doing physical labor.

Time marches on. Birdie is frustrated with her laugh-less, loveless marriage (Stan tags along when Birdie takes one plumbing class at the hardware store, during which she asks lame questions ("Monkey wrench? Is that with an 'o' or a 'u'?"). Preoccupied after the mentally draining class, Birdie leaves the hardware store, forgetting Stan until she's halfway home. Stan can't even laugh at the situation and tells her he was too embarrassed to tell a store clerk that his WIFE forgot about him.

Elizabeth is also miserable in her marriage - Richard phones that he'll be "working late" and she cuts off her fake fingernails with scissors. That'll teach him.

Rose's plot line particularly annoyed me. She appears to know that Frank isn't well, but doesn't go with him to the doctor because she's so "busy" with the house project. She wakes up in the middle of the night one night and he tells her a lame story about his dad and then tells her he has cancer. She falls weeping into his arms and apparently doesn't need to ask him what kind of cancer he has, if it's terminal (it's assumed to be), how long he has, etc. The entire movie is really bad at answering questions and filling in detail.

Frank deteriorates for a while and then one day, Rose comes to the house and collects Elizabeth and brings her over to her house where Birdie is waiting. Rose leads the other two to her backyard and tells them Frank died. I was really bothered by this scene. I kept thinking, "When did he die? Where is his body? Why didn't Rose just call her friends and have them come over?" It was nonsensical.

After Frank's death, they still need to get the house done. They finish it and Birdie's husband comes over to check it out for the first time - he's aghast when he finds out that Birdie learned how to plumb an entire house & goes to check to make sure the faucet runs and the toilet flushes.

Rose writes a book about their experience. The manuscript looks to be about 20 pages long - no doubt it's riveting.

Elizabeth decides to leave Richard. I thought the plot might have a twist here with Richard yelling, "No one leaves me!" before he strangles her to death, but, alas, he just tells her she's making a mistake.

With the house finished and Elizabeth needing a place to live, it comes as no surprise when Elizabeth wants to buy it from the church.

I'm troubled by this film being labeled a "chick-flick" because the underlying message is really anti-feminist. None of the women have jobs or any sense of self, and they although they set out to, they really don't "prove" to anyone (let alone the audience) that they are capable of doing much. They are all portrayed as stupid - in one scene, Birdie actually hits her own hand with a hammer because there was a spider on her hand and she thought she would try to kill it with the hammer. I think the film was aiming to portray these women as independent and capable, when in fact, it does just the opposite. Even the friendship that develops between the women is hard to buy.

Wrought with plot holes and out of place scenes, this film falls hard and flat.


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