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Movie Review

First Wives Club

Reviewed by: Dale Mason

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:

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.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
The FIRST WIVES CLUB is the last thing a woman struggling with marital separation or divorce needs to see. …their idea of justice is revenge. …Along the way, they glorify feminism, lesbianism, and materialism. …Ivana Trump, in a parting cameo, recommends: “Don’t get mad …get everything.” (This film is a) desperate cry of self-justification.”
—Pamela Johnson; quoted from World magazine, November 2, 1996
I thought the movie was funny. The persons who may be insulted by this movie are men who have been divorced and lost most of their things to their X-wives. The part of getting revenge is not a christian moral but a worldly one. By no means should you take revenge, but I could see some good reason to get what you helped to make. Men may not like this movie because it makes that point, and men may fear that their own wives if for some reason get a divorce, that their X-wives may seek to do what the women in this movie did. Women I say get what you deserve, but don’t get revenge, because it is better for God to repay the loss to you, and besides you can’t get even. Plus, I think I should add that not all men are snakes and jult you out of your half, but there are those who just don’t care and will.
—Stephanie, age 21
It’s not a movie I’d take kids to see but there were some funny parts-those lips were hysterical! I’d give it a two in the Moral Rating and a three in movie making
—Libby, age 35