Isn't She Great


Isn't She Great Review

I'll start by saying up front that I really don't admire Bette Midler. I find her loud, hammy, a bit trashy, and generally obnoxious in every way. Oddly, this instantly qualifies her to play novelist Jacqueline Susann, who was loud, hammy, a bit trashy, and generally obnoxious in every way.

If the name Susann doesn't ring a bell, it's because you're too young. "Jackie" was a washed-up actress and radio star when she penned her first novel, The Valley of the Dolls, which went on to become, at its time, the biggest selling novel ever. Why? In the late 60s the tale of drugs and lurid sex against the backdrop of Hollywood was shocking. Now, it's quite tepid, and so is this film, exploring Susann's rise to fame.

And fame is what our Jackie was after. She was what you might even call a fame whore. She prays to a tree for fame. After getting cancer, she bargains with God for ten more years of life so she can have more fame. Kids, this is not a role model.

With the movie's tagline "Talent isn't everything," our heroes hope to inspire the wretches of the earth to greatness, by showing that even a loud, hammy, trashy, and generally obnoxious in every way person can become a star with a little luck and grunt work. But Susann/Midler is so gratingly awful, not only when it comes to talent, but also as a person, it's impossible to relate to the character.

Oh, and this is a comedy. You might think a comedy would really blow if the lead is dying of cancer. Oh, and how it blows. I smiled maybe once during this film, and what with jokes like "Table for three: two adults and one Gentile," how can you blame me? Everything from the opening credits to Burt Bacharach's tinny score is just plain bad. That said, I was stunned to hear the laughter of our baby boomer-heavy audience throughout this film.

Maybe it worked for them, but boy did it fail for me. Frankly I would have preferred to go beyond The Valley of the Dolls.

Isn't she loud?

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th January 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $3M

Budget: $36M

Distributed by: Universal Studios Home Video

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Toho Company, Mutual Film Company, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Lobell/Bergman Productions, Marubeni, Tele M√ľnchen Fernseh Produktionsgesellschaft (TMG)

Reviews 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 46

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew



Starring: as Jacqueline Susann, as Irving Mansfield, as Florence Maybelle, as Michael Hastings, as Henry Marcus, as Maury Manning, as Debbie, as Bambi Madison

Also starring: ,