Based on a very clever comedy by Claire Booth, wife of Time Publisher Henry Luce and later Ambassador to Italy. One of the surprises was an all-woman cast, novel in the 1930's. And although there were no men in the cast, most of the dialog was about them. The story is rather thin and depended on the fact that divorce, in the 1930's, was not only difficult but almost impossible in New York. Mrs. Stephen Haynes learns that her husband is seeing a salesgirl at Saks, and reluctantly divorces him, abetted by her friends, all of whom have romantic problems of their own. In the 1930's New York women who could afford it went to Nevada, where residency could be established quickly and divorce was relatively easy. The 1939 film, starring Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard, Rosalind Russell, and Joan Crawford, was a hit. This one, with an even better looking cast, is definitely not, largely because someone tried to move a 1930's situation comedy into the present.Written by
The Women (2008) by Diane English is sadly such a waste of talent. With Annette Benning, Candice Bergen, Bette Midler, Cloris Leachman whom I like and enjoy in everything I've seen them, and Meg Ryan, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, and Eva Mendes who may not be my favorite actors but are nice to look at, how could the movie be boring, predictable, embarrassing, sloppy, and simply bad? It was made by Diane English who is known as the writer of the very successful TV show Murphy Brown, and it is her first movie for which she wrote a script. The movie has been a labor of love for English who had tried for many years to make it happen and I respect that. I even found the scenes with the supporting players, Bergen, Leechaman, Carry Fisher and Bette Middler in short but memorable cameos, funny, smart, and enjoyable but in general the movie is a second hand "Sex and the City" which was released few months ago. I did not find Sex and the City very good when I saw it but next to The Women, it was simply brilliant. At least, Sex and the City spared us the long and tasteless scene in the hospital's delivery room where one of the characters' was having a baby and her friends were there supporting her. Poor Debra Messing, what did she do to deserve that nightmare she was put through and we, the viewers together with her? The movies like "The Women" give the whole genre, chick flicks, a bad name. It is nothing wrong with the genre, but why is it so difficult to make a really good comedy about female friendships and hardships, about dealing with marriage, motherhood, and proving yourself professionally? These are all very compelling and important subjects any modern woman can relate to. Why making movies with the lines, dialogs, and situations so clichéd, predictable, not funny and insulting that they will be forgotten as soon as the movie is over?
After I saw the new movie, I checked out from my local library the original The Women and I truly enjoyed it. The story was told much better 70 years ago, and kept my interest all the way. The old movie had a real star power.
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