“The Women” – Joanna Langfield reviews

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Just as some people are trying to convince women to support another woman for national office, would it follow women critics are supposed to support a movie about and made by women? If so, once again, I’m not buying it. Call me a maverick, I guess.

This “Women” is an update of the Claire Booth Luce classic. I wasn’t around back then, but I guess just having a bunch of terrific actresses collected to recognize things like adultery, female friendships and the complications of motherhood was pretty fresh. Now, even considering Diane English’s savvy sophistication, it all just seems rather tired.

Meg Ryan and Annette Bening play old college pals, now suffering in the directions life has led them. Meg (looking great, loved the hair) designs dresses in her Connecticut manse, Annette sleekly tries to manage a failing woman’s magazine. Both have their worlds rocked, shocked and supported by a dandy group of actresses including Eva Mendes, Candice Bergen and Bette Midler. Sadly, few of these women seem to really connect on screen. Debra Messing, looking almost unrecognizable, shows up a lot, but doesn’t bring much to the table and, except for the obvious, I’m not sure what Jada Pickett Smith was doing there. She’s a talent who should have been given more to do.

Everybody does get to spout off English’s zingy one liners, though and, while I’m sure most of them are pithy and smart, they fly too fast and furious for us to savor. There’s no down time for any of us to take a breath, laugh or dare I say, think; the on target sass English injected into Murphy Brown must be in this script, too, but it all congeals into a relentless mass.

Of course, I love the idea of all these actresses (and women behind the camera) getting their acts together, as it were. But, happily, we’ve come a long way, baby, since the original boilerplate for this one; far enough, I feel, that we don’t have to go bananas just because there’s a woman on the stage.

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Joanna Langfield (Archived Contributor)

Her voice is heard throughout the 50 states and around the world by more than one million listeners on her syndicated radio programs: Joanna Langfield’s People Report and Video and Movie Minute. She’s also seen and heard as a regular contributing commentator on CNN International, CNN, Fox News and CNBC. In print, her articles have been published in such high profile magazines as Video Review and McCall’s. Joanna Langfield is known for taking interviews to another level with probing looks at celebrities’ insights rather than just their latest projects. As a result, she’s secured a niche among the nation’s premier interviewers and movie critics. Joanna began her career on the production staff of a local Boston television station. She then focused her energies towards radio and produced talk shows at WMEX-AM in Boston. After moving to New York, she became executive producer at WMCA-AM for talk show personalities Barry Gray and Sally Jessy Raphael. She began hosting a one-minute movie review spot which, in turn, led to her top-rated weekend call in-show, The Joanna Langfield Show (1980-83). Joanna moved to WABC-AM to host The Joanna Langfield Show on Saturday nights from 9:00pm to midnight. It was the highest rated show in its time slot. From 1987-1989, Joanna hosted Today’s People on the ABC Radio network, which was fed daily to over 300 stations around the country. She also appeared on WABC-TV as a regular on-air contributor. In 1989, Joanna formed her radio production company, Joanna Langfield Entertainment Reports, to syndicate her radio reports. She is considered to be one of the top authoritative commentators on the entertainment industry. Read Lagfield's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Joanna Langfield" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).