Ladies Light

Once grand, The Women is now just another chick flick

The heat of the chick flick cools over 70 years.
The heat of the chick flick cools over 70 years.

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The Women, starring Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, Cloris Leachman, and Candice Bergen.Written and directed by Diane English. Based on a movie by George Cukor and a play by Clare Boothe Luce. 114 minutes. Rated PG-13.

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Off the top of my head, I can think of several gifted interpreters of women on the verge — Nicole Holofcener (Lovely and Amazing), Tamara Jenkins (The Savages), or even Mr. Almodóvar himself — who could have planed away Luce's viciousness without losing her satirical edge. Understandably, English — who put in the hard labor to bring her baby to term — wanted to direct. But she's the wrong person for the job, and, willy-nilly, she has reduced one of the wittiest women's comedies ever made to just another ho-hum chick flick. Lord knows, this summer saw enough of those.

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