Chick Flick

The Women (2008) should’ve been an easy sell. Although the 1930’s play and film are a product of their time, it was ahead of its time for its female perspective. Which is why the first attempt at a remake didn’t work. Including men in The Opposite Sex was misguided enough, but MGM very nearly considered making a gender swapped remake in 1960 called Gentlemen’s Club. A modern day remake of The Women was a passion project of Murphy Brown creator Diane English since the early 90’s. Several high profile actresses expressed interest in the project and James L. Brooks was considered as director. Even in the late 2000’s major studios still didn’t believe in a movie with an all-female cast. English ended up writing, producing, and directing herself with the remake being shelved until Sex in the City proved successful in theaters. Hollywood may have underestimated The Women (2008), but it’s still not as good as it should’ve been.

The Women (2008) is basically Sex in the City right down to the frequent sexual discussions and New York setting. The PG-13 rating meant less creative innuendos, but they still use the “kennel” insult at the very beginning. Only a few good lines and modern female perspectives follow it. Though The Women (2008) is modernized, it comes across shallow and less believable. The dedication to an all-female cast deserves admiration, but the lack of men makes less sense the more locations we visit. There is one boy in the cast, but I can give the scene a pass. Not even the cast of stars I was more familiar with was enough to win me over. It sounds overly harsh, but Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith were all nominated for Worst Actress at the same time. Ryan was kind of past her prime when she played Mary Haines who is now a fashion designer. Bening does her best as the renamed Sylvie Fowler who is now a magazine editor.

Sylvie betrays Mary like the original, but she remains her best friend since women aren’t allowed to be catty in this version. In fact, Sylvie ends up helping Mary’s daughter when she starts acting out. Messing is also friendly throughout as the pregnant Edie who already has several daughters. Pinkett Smith plays an original character named Alex who was only added to be a lesbian in the group. Mendes is perfectly sexy and uncaring as Crystal Allen, but Mary only confronts her once, then never seeks revenge. The climax is at a fashion show where the only goal is self improvement. It doesn’t help that they call attention to the plot feeling like a 1930’s movie. Things like the divorce ranch in Reno are replaced by a woman’s retreat. Candice Bergen, Cloris Leachman, Debi Mazar, Bette Midler, and Carrie Fisher all play repurposed characters from the original. The Women (2008) is too reliant on an already perfect story.

The Women 2008

The women in the perfume department

Remake of: The Women (1939)

4 thoughts on “Chick Flick

  1. I remember the trailers and TV Spots very well for this remake of The Women. It might be a Sex and the City clone to a degree, but it tries to be as faithful to the original as it can. The all star cast is top notch like the original too, even if Meg Ryan was a little too old for the lead part. Not perfect, but an OK 21st take on the the classic.

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