Complete A-Z list

Women, The


Stars: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Bette Midler, Carrie Fisher, Candice Bergen, Cloris Leachman, Debi Mazar, India Ennega, Joanna Gleeson

Director: Diane English

Writer-director English fulfils the tried-and-true Hollywood truism – when in doubt, remake – with a glossy, glamorous and starry women’s picture that enjoyably updates and reworks Clare Booth Luce’s play and George Cukor’s celebrated (but, sadly not by me) 1939 movie about a group of upmarket New York women who rally round when one of their circle (seemingly happily married mother Ryan) learns that her husband is cheating on her.

Bening (unwisely daring the cinematographer to do his worst with “This is my face. Deal with it”) triggers off plenty of emotional angst after learning of the adultery from gossipy manicurist Mazar, and leads a good cast with Bergen, smartly snapping out acid dialogue in her best Eve Arden manner and Messing, who produces the film's sole male cast member at the end of an hilariously birth scene, standing out, and engaging support being supplied by Leachman and Midler.

It’s openly and obviously a women’s picture that’s been neatly and accurately designed to appeal to its target audience – male viewers are likely to be left grinding their teeth and repeatedly looking at their watches as the (a tad too long) comedy progresses.

English does a slick and stylish job - I particularly liked the opening credits introducing and delineating the female protagonists with apt shots of their shoes as they click along the streets of Manhattan. New York is attractively photographed and the scenes shot in Saks Fifth Avenue are probably some of department store’s best advertisements ever. It’s a satisfying, well polished and easy-to-watch chick flick of the sort they basically don’t make any more. Perhaps they should.

Alan Frank

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Entertainment Film Distributors. Colour.
114 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 12 Sep 2008