5.5/10
2,284
66 user 62 critic

Isn't She Great (2000)

Bette Midler and Nathan Lane star in this comedy about Jacqueline Susann, the ambitious woman of dubious talent who wrote Valley of the Dolls, a best-selling novel that became a sensation.

Director:

Andrew Bergman

Writers:

Michael Korda (article), Paul Rudnick (screenplay)
2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Midler ... Jacqueline Susann
Nathan Lane ... Irving Mansfield
Stockard Channing ... Florence Maybelle
David Hyde Pierce ... Michael Hastings
John Cleese ... Henry Marcus
John Larroquette ... Maury Manning
Amanda Peet ... Debbie
Terrence Labrosse Terrence Labrosse ... Radio actor
Jeffrey Ross ... Shecky
Christopher McDonald ... Brad Bradburn (as Christopher MacDonald)
Paul Benedict ... Prof. Brainiac
Dina Spybey-Waters ... Bambi Madison (as Dina Spybey)
Pauline Little Pauline Little ... Leslie Barnett
William Hill ... Passerby
Mal Z. Lawrence ... Mort
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Storyline

An unsuccessful over-the-top actress becomes a successful over-the-top author in this biography of Jacqueline Susann, the famed writer of "Valley of the Dolls" and other trashy novels. Facing a failing career, Susann (Bette Midler) meets a successful promoter who becomes her husband. After several failures to place her in commercials and a television quiz show, he hits upon the idea for her to become a writer. In the early 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 <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Talent isn't everything.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As depicted in the movie, Truman Capote, when appearing as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) in July 1969, announced that Jacqueline Susann looked "like a truck driver in drag". Capote later recanted his insult about Susann, apologizing to any truckers who may have been offended. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Michael Hastings: Mimsy.
Jacqueline Susann: Mimsy? Is that code?
See more »

Connections

References I Remember Mama (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
Written by Mildred J. Hill, Patty S. Hill
See more »

User Reviews

 
Not a good movie--but I had fun
11 January 2004 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

This movie is supposedly about Jacqueline Susann (Bette Midler) and husband Irving Mansfield (Nathan Lane). It chronicles how they met, fell in love and how she got "Valley of the Dolls" published. But this movie is a mess...and completely inaccurate.

For starters, Midler doesn't even remotely look like Susann or act like her. I've read at least 3 books on Susann as well as various articles - she was an ambitious, intelligent, driven woman. As Midler portrays her she is stupid, obnoxious, VERY loud and foul-mouthed. I'm no prude but there's way too much swearing from her in this--I have my doubts that Susann ever talked like that. Also they take actual events from Susann's life and fictionalizes them. When she is told in the movie to edit her book she acts like an idiot and refuses to help. In real life, Susann agreed to help make the book better with no fuss. And, Susann had a "Wishing Hill" (as she called it) in Central Park. It was basically a huge pile of rocks where she sat to clear her mind and relax. Here it's turned into a giant tree (????) and we have sequences with Lane and Midler talking, yelling and swearing at it. It's a wonder that those two managed to pull it off without looking like idiots.

As you can see, this is a bad film--but just so much FUN to watch! The incredible costumes and set design are just great--colorful and very true to the period. Some of the lines are actually very funny. Nathan Lane is great as Mansfield and Stockard Channing (as her best friend) and David Hyde Pierce (as her publisher) are hysterical and offer strong support. And Christopher McDonald and John Larroquette throw in cameos. Also John Cleese is on hand but he's wasted. Then there's Midler....she's AWFUL! Loud, shrill and thoroughly unlikable. When she was dying at the end I could have cared less. If she had toned down her performance and not played every scene at full tilt this might have worked. But she doesn't. However, she is fun to watch--a textbook example of how NOT to play a role.

The studio (understandably) threw this film away. It came and went VERY quickly and was a commercial disaster. Still, I'm giving it a 7--it's so incredibly bad that it's fun to watch! A must-see on that level.


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Details

Official Sites:

Universal

Country:

UK | Germany | Canada | Japan | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ela É um Sucesso See more »

Filming Locations:

Hudson, Québec, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$44,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,368,705, 30 January 2000

Gross USA:

$2,962,465

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,003,296
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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