The Women (2008) starring Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, Candice Bergen, Carrie Fisher directed by Diane English Movie Review

The Women (2008)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Meg Ryan as Mary Haines in The Women (2008)

What Women Don't Want

A lot of the comments I've come across when it comes to "The Women" bemoan it for being a terrible remake of a great movie; many of them don't actually mention the remake other than saying this is a travesty. That could well be the case because whilst I've never watched the 1939 version of "The Women" just seeing the incredible talent in that movie suggests it is something special. Now you may think having not watched the original would make me feel more positive about this 2008 version with nothing to compare it to, but that isn't the case because this is a movie which is just blah. Despite a nice ensemble of actresses this is a movie which doesn't seem to go anywhere or say anything or get really funny, well not until the end and we have Debra Messing howling like she is possessed as she gives birth, I honestly half expected her head to spin round at one point.

When Sylvie Fowler (Annette Bening - Open Range) learns that a perfume assistant called Crystal (Eva Mendes) is having an affair with the husband of her friend Mary (Meg Ryan - In the Cut) she confides in her friends Edie (Debra Messing) and Alex (Jada Pinkett Smith) what to do. In the meantime Mary discovers her husband's affair for herself and finds the perfect life she had being eroded away. But having hit rock bottom Mary attempts to pick herself up and become the woman she always wanted to be whilst learning that she is not alone when it comes to unreliable men.

Annette Bening and Debra Messing in The Women (2008)

I am actually a bit lost for words because "The Women" has a story, it has characters, it even has certain biggish scenes but it all played out in front of my eyes and left me feeling vacant. Nothing that I watched was that interesting, the characters were just stereotypes and the humour failed to spark in to life. Okay so I should explain as "The Women" is basically all about Mary who discovers her husband is having an affair and we watch how she deals with it and in some cases not. This leads Mary on a journey of discovery becoming a woman in her own right rather than just a wife and mother and there is her close clique of friends, which is all very "Sex in the City".

But here is the thing about "The Women" the movie plays out and never once manages to connect with the audience, not only that the characters don't connect with each other. So when we should feel for Mary we feel nothing, when she tries to turn her life around we don't care and when she is with her clique they are just annoying. It is why "The Women" is basically blah and to be frank for a movie which tries hard to be funny it is not until the end and when we have Debra Messing as Edie in labour does it get a laugh and that is purely down to Messing sounding like a woman possessed as she screams out.

In many ways "The Women" is a waste of talent because none of the main stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith make any impact at all. Oh they all play extreme characters which border on being caricatures but they don't connect believably as women who lunch together. And as for Eva Mendes as the other woman, well it appears to be a case that she has been cast because she can pull off the lingerie scene, well she certainly doesn't have much to do beyond that scene. But the biggest waste of talent is when it comes to Candice Bergen, Bette Midler and Carrie Fisher because they get so little do and in the case of Midler gets closest to delivering laughs in her couple of minutes of screen time.

What this all boils down to is that "The Women" may have disappointed those who love the original but it will disappoint those who have never seen the 1939 version. It is basically blah, a movie which never connects with the audience and struggles to get a laugh when it tries so hard to.