Reviewed by: Dale Mason
Starring: Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Bronson Pinchot, Stephen Collins / Director: Hugh Wilson
As a comedy, “First Wives Club” is a bit short on laughs. But as a “How to get revenge on the man who just jilted you”-film, it delivers well.
Former college chums Brenda (Bette Midler), Elise (Goldie Hawn) and Annie (Diane Keaton)—all financially well-to-do—are reunited 25 years or so after graduation, at the funeral of their fourth “best-friend”, who has just committed suicide.
Overweight Brenda, silicone Elise, and sweet, air-head Annie go to dinner after the funeral and discover that each is either recently divorced, or matrimonially disassociated (separated!). As their depression and anger-inspired after dinner drinking binge takes effect, each reveals that their two-timing husbands has dumped them for younger, more physically attractive girls. Now energized by their renewed friendship the three scorned stars form a “club” to help one-another to get as much of the wealth garnered during their defunct marriages as possible, and to bring abundant embarrassment on their “exes” in the process.
While this rather lame comedy does include some very funny scenes, and though it conveys a few positive social statements (it’s not right to divorce for selfish reasons, marriage is an equal partnership, the pursuit of physical beauty is vanity, etc.) it seems to drone on long after most viewers are ready for the closing credits to scroll upward. There is no really redemptive quality to the story (except for an impotent “give it all away” scene at the end) and terrible relational suffering, even suicide, is presented in a quick, crass, go-for-the-laughs manner.
As you might expect with this type of 90’s theme, the film contains crude and profane language, the promotion of alternative lifestyles (lesbianism) and mild sensuality. …So much talent, so little quality.