Directed by Diane English
A modern-day makeover softens the satiric 1939 classic.
The Women reduces “one of the wittiest women’s comedies ever made” to just another chick flick, said Ella Taylor in The Village Voice. George Cukor’s 1939 satire of Manhattan’s society matrons, inspired by Clare Booth Luce’s “viciously clever” play, was “full of piss and vinegar.” Diane English’s modern-day version, however, is “hopelessly tame and muddled.” Even though Cukor had to soften the “bitter edge of Luce’s dialogue,” he never lost sight of the play’s dry wit and feminine spirit. The sisters-doing-it-for-themselves feel of this remake “would have made Luce barf.” Instead of firing zingers at one another, Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, and the rest of the all-star cast fulfill all the worst stereotypes about women, said Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon.com. They “cry and blubber and sniffle.” They get lots of manicures and “all talk at once at increasingly high-pitched yip-yip-yips of hysteria.” Gone are the “fast-paced repartee, catty wit, and social bite of the original,” said Claudia Puig in USA Today. The Women is supposed to reflect how far we’ve come, but instead makes clear that we’ve still got a ways to go.