This remake of George Cukor's 1939 film, courtesy of director Diane English (Murphy Brown), seems propelled by the same force as Sex and the City: the idea that what women want is a movie with an all-female cast talking about relationships. This time, the cast numbers Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett-Smith, playing a housewife, a career gal, a mother and a lesbian (which isn't, strictly speaking, a profession, though in this instance you'd be forgiven for thinking it might be). Their lives entwine when a department store manicurist lets slip to one of them that the hottie behind the perfume counter (Eva Mendes) is canoodling with a rich married man - a fact that soon makes its way back to his wife (Ryan). All of the actors play their parts immaculately, with Ryan and Bening on particularly good form. But the problem here is a want of wit and bite; it's all too darned wishy-washy and feel-good and actually winds up feeling pretty false. There's also the questionable involvement of soap manufacturer Dove (product placement ahoy) as part of their 'campaign for real women'. And, ultimately, that's all The Women feels like - one long soap advert.
12A, 114 mins

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