The First Wives Club

"Very Good"

The First Wives Club Review


The biggest crowd-pleaser of the year is upon us -- the powerhouse trio of Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton foisting their womanness on us with a vengeance. Sure to revive the debate over whether films like this are "man hating," The First Wives Club is, in reality, a harmless big screen sitcom that actually manages to appeal to a large audience.

Rambling through its first 30 minutes with no real direction, The First Wives Club eventually turns into a story about three old friends who want to exact vengeance on their wayward ex-husbands. Elise (Hawn) is an aging movie star, obsessed, as most aging movie stars are, about her looks. Brenda (Midler) is a bitter ex-housewife who loves her son and bemoans her lack of funds to support him -- and hasn't changed her hair since 1969. Annie (Keaton) is basically a middle-aged version of Annie Hall, only now she has a lesbian daughter and an intrusive mother, and Woody Allen is nowhere to be seen.

The most visible of the ex-husbands is Brenda's estranged hubby Morty (Dan Hedaya), an electronics kingpin who has moved on to the greener pastures of Shelly (Sarah Jessica Parker). He becomes the centerpiece of an intricate scam the women put together to basically drive the three husbands to madness, ruin, and poverty.

Hey! It's a comedy!

I must admit, that for all its middle-aged woman-bent humor, The First Wives Club still managed to be amusing to this 25 year-old man, mainly due to some really fine acting, good jokes, and a fresh story. Keaton is the best, as usual, and Hawn also does a fine job. Desperately trying to steal the show (and ending up as the only wife who I didn't really care about) is Midler. But when was the last time Midler played a character who wasn't an overbearing loudmouth?

It's also a manipulative little film -- pulling those heart strings about as hard as you can without jumping out of the comedy genre. There are loads of cameos -- the only person they forgot was Charles Nelson Reilly. Basically, everything works to give Wives a sitcom feel (I wouldn't be surprised if they adapted it next season...). Just to seal the issue, they even put Bronson Pinchot in a supporting role. (Ironic fact: almost everyone behind the scenes of the film (including the director, screenwriter, and producer) is male.)

Parting words of advice: Guys, prepare yourselves to be dragged to the movie theater by your wife or girlfriend. Ladies, please don't get any bright ideas.

Rating the film is almost impossible. Here's my best cut at it:

If you're a woman: [][][][]If you're a divorcee: [][][][][]If you're a bitter divorcee: [][][][][]

On its merits: [][][][]

Run, Goldie! Run!



The First Wives Club

Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th September 1996

Box Office Worldwide: $116.4M

Budget: $26M

Distributed by: Paramount Home Video

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 39%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 20

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Brenda Cushman, as Elise Elliot, as Annie Paradis, as Gunilla Garson Goldberg, as Morton Cushman, as Shelly Stewart, as Phoebe LaVelle, as Herself, as Brett Artounian, as Cynthia Swann Griffin, as Bill Atchison, as Aaron Paradis, as Dr. Leslie Rosen, as Duarto Feliz, Jennifer Dundas as Chris Paradis, as Catherine MacDuggan, as Uncle Carmine Morelli, as Young Elise

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.