The Banger Sisters Movie Review

Without paying close attention, one could wander into The Banger Sisters expecting a warm and fuzzy friendship yarn delivered by an Oscar-caliber trio of Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon, and Geoffrey Rush. You'd be half right. The cast shows up, but the film substitutes "warm and fuzzy" with vulgar dialogue and gratuitously sexual escapades.

This is a shame, because Sisters introduces unusual characters that deserve to be explored, starting with Suzette (Hawn), a former groupie and by-product of the "free love" era who refuses to admit times have changed. Fired from her bartending job at the famed Whisky A Go-Go, Suzette hits the road to Phoenix to rekindle her fizzled relationship with her former cohort, Lavinia "Vinnie" Kingsley (Sarandon), the other half of the infamous Banger Sisters. Along the way, Suzette picks up a neurotic screenwriter named Harry (Rush), who's on his way back to Arizona to murder his father.

Sisters just takes too long to go nowhere. Lavinia has moved on with her life. She's shacked up with a straight arrow who harbors political aspirations, and they've reproduced two of the brattiest kids in recent memory. Interesting conflicts do surface when Suzette starts poking her nose into Lavinia's new life, but they are either unattended or ignored before too long. Sisters spins its fascinating characters in a circle for two hours, then unceremoniously dumps them into a tidy resolution. Call it "Touched by a Groupie."

I kept going back to Suzette and wishing this film would do more with her character. She exists as a living, breathing reminder of the stupid things we did as kids. Hawn, all trash and sass, plays her as both the trailer park and the hurricane that blows through, decimating everything in its path. Yet she manages to serve both as a muse for Harry and a life-altering catalyst for Lavinia.

Desperate to produce an adult picture, Dolman earns every bit of the film's R rating. Prom dates end with acid trips, and the Banger sisters reminisce over a kinky collection of photographs (use your imagination). Sisters isn't without its poignant moments, mostly associated with Lavinia's life-affirming wake-up call. And Rush has fun with his character's foibles. You just have to wonder if a female writer or director could have had more vision in shaping this fertile material into something worthwhile.

Bang and blame.


Comments

The Banger Sisters Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 2002

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