Review: 'The Women'

This modern remake of the Cukor classic boasts considerable star power but could have had sharper claws.

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The 1939 George Cukor classic "The Women," based on the play by Clare Booth Luce and coscripted by Anita Loos, starred such luminaries as Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine, Hedda Hopper, and Butterfly McQueen. It was a sterling example of high-style cattiness and, in its way, influenced just about every female-centric movie ever since. The updated and rejiggered remake, written and directed by Diane English, stars a modern-day equivalent of that earlier lineup, including Candice Bergen, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cloris Leachman, Debra Messing, Meg Ryan as the suburban mom whose crumbum husband plays around on her, Eva Mendes (in the Joan Crawford role) as the home wrecker, and Annette Bening as a high-style fashion magazine editor – not nearly the gorgon Meryl Streep played in "The Devil Wears Prada." It's intermittently amusing, and Bening actually gives a performance instead of a star turn, but the claws should have been sharper. No doubt this film will draw on the same audiences that lapped up "Sex and the City" and "Prada," but it has an added gimmick: Not a single male, except, fittingly, a male baby, makes an appearance. It's a sci-fi feminist jest. Grade: B (Rated PG-13 for sex-related material, language, some drug use, and brief smoking.)

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