First Wives Club, The

"Movie Magazine International" Review

(Air Date: Week Of 9/18/96)

By Alex Lau

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And when you get three scorned women together, look out world!

That's the basic premise behind "First Wives Club," an entertaining new comedy starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton. These three portray college buddies who grew apart after graduation. Midler and Keaton became homemakers, and both helped their husbands become business successes. Hawn became a movie star, and her husband became her producer.

They get together after a mutual friend, played by an unbilled Stockard Channing, commits suicide after her ex-husband divorces her and marries Heather Locklear.

One thing leads to another, and wouldn't you know it? There's an epidemic going on! Men dumping longtime, faithful wives for younger, sexier women, film at 11!

The rest becomes an X-chromosome-centric revenge movie, with the emphasis on broad humor and sitcom-like situations. Looking for subtlety? Not here. Looking for something that a representative of the Y-chromosome can take as a model for good behavior? You're going to have to look somewhere else.

And yet the strong cast, aided by the direction of Hugh Wilson, is able to pull this off without much of a hitch. Maggie Smith, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bronson Pinchot, and Elizabeth Berkeley -- yes, THAT Elizabeth Berkeley -- all contribute here.

Keaton is the real star here. She gets to show a lot of the talent that got her the Oscar for "Annie Hall," and without Keaton's stellar performance, "First Wives Club" becomes just another man-bashing fest.

As it is, "First Wives Club" rises above its masculinity-averse tendencies and manages to come out a winner.

Copyright 1996 Alex Lau

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