This is going to be hit even if the only people who go are women who have
been dumped for a younger woman. This is such a common experience for Baby
Boomers hitting middle age that "First Wives Club" could easily
have been a cliché-driven bit of drivel. But Olivia Goldsmith's's
novel was such a huge national best-seller that director Hugh Wilson heard
about it from his high school English teacher, Ellen Callahan. When he
was offered the script, his wife pushed for him to do it. Nice to know
there are actually guys in Hollywood who listen to women!
A few more might follow that example after seeing the revenge that Bette
Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn wreak upon their exes. Each must contend
with being replaced by designer bodies Sarah Jessica Parker, Marcia Gay
Harden, and Elizabeth Berkley, respectively. While husbands Dan Hedaya,
Stephen Collins, and Victor Garber are, as my Dad would say, 'living the
life of Riley', the bill comes due as their former wives discover that revenge
and justice just aren't sweet enough. In the magical hands of screenwriter
Robert Harling, who penned "Steel Magnolias", "First Wives
Club" gives its stars an opportunity to shine. Once college friends,
they are brought together by their fourth roommate's suicide. Stockard Channing.
in an un-billed cameo. starts the ball rolling toward poignancy without
sentimentality as she bids farewell to the young lady on the stairmaster
and to the world. If she is classic, then how can I adequately describe
Maggie Smith's performance as Gunilla Goldberg, the grand dame of the New
York divorcees? Smith's comic timing rivals that of Midler, Hawn, and Keaton,
but with just the right touch of British class.
There is nothing to complain about in this comic masterpiece, except that
I would have like to have seen more of Marcia Gay Harden. Oh, and just
wait for the cameos by Gloria Steinem, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Ivana Trump!
"First Wives Club" is a complete delight. You'll feel left out
if you don't go, but plan on seeing it twice to catch all the dialogue,
because chances are with all the laughter you'll miss some of it. Rated