Opens at Guild 45 and other theaters, Fri., Sept. 12. Rated PG-13. 114 minutes.
Trailing negative buzz and a revolving door of A-list talent since its inception in 1994, Diane English's pudding of a remake of George Cukor's wicked 1939 satire of Manhattan socialites isn't so much incompetent as it is hopelessly tame and muddled. The Women has all the visual glamour of a suburban rummage sale, and it doesn't help that an annoyingly girlish Meg Ryan—in the Norma Shearer role as Mary, a contented Connecticut supermom with a half-baked career who's shaken to her core by the news that her husband is having an affair with a Saks "shpritzer girl" (Eva Mendes, subbing feebly for Joan Crawford)—has had so much facial work that her features are immobilized. (And this in a movie that sucks whatever laughs it can muster from the Botox subculture.) Notwithstanding Annette Bening's wispy gossip, there's not a bona fide double-talking vixen in the entire coven, and before you know it The Women has shrunk to fit the sewing form of a television movie in which the heroine is briefly floored by adversity before rising from the ashes, coiffed a la L'Oreal 'cause she's worth it, and fully employed with a little help from her loyal BFFs. Cripplingly sensitive to its market potential, The Women hedges its bets and covers every possible female demographic base before wilting into a gooey maternity-ward finale. Another dismal chick flick after a summer full of them.