Monday, September 22, 2008

The Women prove to be a disappointment

Litchik and Funderwoman were looking forward to The Women for several weeks. Seriously, with a killer cast of all women, a story originally penned by Clare Luce Booth and the creator of Murphy Brown, they thought nothing could possibly go wrong.


It's hard to know where to begin describing this train wreck of a film. The story went through several rewrites to give it a more "updated" feel. Apparently, the result was more scattershot than updated. Once point A was covered, we moved to T, then I, back to R, swung around to E and (kind of) ended at D. Oh, look! That spells tired, which is how you'll feel from trying to follow the convoluted mess of a plot.

Sadly, the usually brilliant cast cannot even save the film. Annette Bening tries too hard to imitate Kim Catrall's Samantha from Sex and the City but never quite gets it right. Meg Ryan looks lost most of the time, and Debra Messing's comedic talents are wasted in a role too goofy even for her. Worst of all, Bette Midler and Candace Bergen appear in pointless cameos that are too stereotypical to be considered hip or ironic. Cloris Leachman is hilarious, but her screen time adds up to a whopping 5 minutes. A complete waste of talent!

But the worst part is that the movie allegedly made to empower women and prove to Hollywood that an all-female film can translate into big box-office dollars depicts women in such an unflattering light. Litchik (who really wanted to shut off the critical part of her brain and enjoy the film as a fun piece of light-hearted fluff) couldn't help but notice that the only two non-white actors, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Eva Mendes, played the least desirable roles: angry black lesbian, and Latina mistress. This is yet another example of representing the Other in the role of outcast. In Smith's case, it's a double whammy since the angry black woman isn't stereotypical enough; clearly, the producers thought making her a lesbian as well can add that extra dash of faux "diversity" the film seeks. Instead, it merely reduced all of the women portrayed to ancient tropes that the film allegedly sought to leave behind.

In theory, the idea of The Women still remains a good one. What a shame that the creators and producers got too caught up in trying to make a "success" based on the criteria of an industry that still treats women like second-class objects incapable of real depth or diversity.

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