The First Wives Club Movie 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!

Comments

The First Wives Club Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG, 1996

Advertisement

More Bette Midler

50 Cent And Bette Midler? Our Favorite Celebrity BFFs

Unlike Jennifer Lawrence and her rather normal best friend, Laura Simpson, celebs often pick other famous people to have as their BFFs. They all probably...

20 Feet From Stardom Movie Review

Entertaining and uplifting, this Oscar-winning documentary tells the unknown story of the back-up singers who made classic records so memorable. Packed with lively, engaging people...

L'Wren Scott Death: Bianca Jagger Leads Tributes To Fashion Designer And Mick Jagger Girlfriend

L'Wren Scott has been found dead in her Manhattan apartment this morning after what is believed to have been a suicide. The 49 year-old fashion...

Oscar Producers Zadan And Meron Tease Some Of This Year's Biggest Moments

Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made a controversial hit out of the Oscars last year, but they might be on thin ice this...

Advertisement

Sigourney Weaver And Bette Midler Arrive At The GLWD 2013 Golden Heart Awards - Part 1

'Hocus Pocus' star Bette Midler and 'Alien' star Sigourney Weaver were among the star arrivals at the God's Love We Deliver 2013 Golden Heart Awards...

Bette Midler, The Toast Of Broadway For One-Woman Show 'I'll Eat You Last'

Bette Midler has made her triumphant return to the floorboards of New York's most famous theatre district, having been away from the stages of Broadway...

Opening Night: Bette Midler In 'I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers' [Pictures]

Bette Midler stars in I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers. The play tells the story of the fading glamour of one of...

'I'll Eat You Last' Sees Beth Midler At Her Very Best As The Witty And Cynical Sue Mengers

Bette Midler is Sue Mengers. In I’ll Eat You Last, the funny, outspoken actress plays the infamous 70s talent agent with such clarity and wit,...

Advertisement