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With: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, Candice Bergen, Carrie Fisher, Cloris Leachman, Debi Mazar, India Ennenga, Jill Flint, Ana Gasteyer, Joanna Gleason, Tilly Scott Pedersen, Lynn Whitfield, Natasha Alam
Written by: Diane English, based on a screenplay by Anita Loos, Jane Murfin, and on a play by Clare Boothe Luce
Directed by: Diane English
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex-related material, language, some drug use and brief smoking
Running Time: 114
Date: 09/04/2008

The Women (2008)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Chick Change

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

TV veteran Diane English ("Murphy Brown") transforms George Cukor's witty, bitchy The Women (1939) into a cuddly, weepy big-screen sitcom. Based all-too-loosely on Clare Boothe Luce's 1936 play, the drama involves Mary (Meg Ryan) whose unseen husband has an affair with a sexy Saks perfume girl (Eva Mendes). Her pals (Annette Bening, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith) help, and experience dramas of their own. English attempts to modernize the characters, but only manages to set them back; their ideas and breakthroughs come straight from Hallmark cards, rather growing viciously out of "jungle red" nail polish. Ryan and Bening occasionally rise above the material, and Mendes provides credible sex appeal, even if she lacks Joan Crawford's delicious villainy.

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