REVIEW: WHAT WOMEN WANT

 

 

CAST

Mel Gibson (Mad Max)
Helen Hunt (As Good as It gets)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Alan Alda (the Aviator)
Ashley Johnson (Dollhouse)
Mark Feuerstein (Defiance)
Lauren Holly (All My Children)
Delta Burke (Designing Women)
Valerie Perrine (Superman)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Sarah Paulson (Serenity)
Ana Gasteyer (Mena Girls)
Lisa Edelstein (Daddy Day Care)
Loretta Devine (Crash)
Diana Maria Riva (17 Again)
Eric Balfour (Skyline)
T.J. Thyne (Bones)
Audrey Wasilewski (Pushing Daisies)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Bette Midler (Drowning Mona)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)

Nick Marshall, a Chicago advertising executive and alpha male, who grew up with his Las Vegas showgirl mother, is a chauvinist. He is skilled at selling to men and seducing women. Just as he thinks he’s headed for a promotion, his manager, Dan, informs him that he is hiring Darcy McGuire instead, to broaden the firm’s appeal to women. Also, his estranged 15-year-old daughter Alexis is spending two weeks with him while his ex-wife Gigi goes on her honeymoon with her new husband Ted. Alexis is embarrassed by Nick, and resents his being protective when he meets her boyfriend.

Desperate to prove himself to Darcy and Dan, Nick attempts to think of copy for a series of feminine products that Darcy distributed at the day’s staff meeting. He slips and falls into his bathtub while holding an electric hairdryer, shocking himself. The next day, Nick wakes up and comes to realize that he can hear the innermost thoughts of all women. This proves to be an epiphany for him as he realizes that most women, especially at work, dislike him and consider him to be sleazy. When he goes to his old divorce therapist, Dr. Perkins (who also disliked him), she realizes his gift and encourages him to learn to use it to his advantage.

Nick eavesdrops on Darcy and sabotages her ideas to use as his own. As he spends more time with Darcy, he realizes he is attracted to her. When he tries to get closer to his daughter, she resents him for trying after so many years of neglect. He is able to bond with her by helping her shop for a dress for a prom dance. Using his gift, Nick detects that her boyfriend, who is older than Alex, plans to sleep with her and then dump her, but she does not want Nick’s advice.

Nick and Darcy begin to spend more time together, and ultimately they kiss. When he manages to trump Darcy out of her idea for a new Nike ad campaign aimed at women, he later regrets his selfishness, especially as it leads to her being fired. Nick persuades his boss to give Darcy her job back by saying that it was all Darcy’s idea.

Nick’s mindreading talents gradually subside, and over time he rekindles some of his female acquaintance/ relationships. Nick loses his gift during a storm while trying to find a company secretary, Erin, who (telepathic ability revealed) is contemplating suicide. He stops her just in the nick of time and offers her a position for which she previously applied. When Alex’s boyfriend rejects her for refusing his sexual advances, Nick consoles her and is able to restore their relationship. Nick finally visits Darcy and explains everything. She forgives him and agrees to save him from himself, to which he responds “My hero.”

A Very enjoyable. It’s a bit of a laugh and a light hearted film. Great to relax and unwind with.

REVIEW: THE STEPFORD WIVES (2004)

CAST
Nicole Kidman (Australia)
Bette Midler (Hocus Pocus)
Matthew Broderick (Election)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Jon Lovitz (The Simpsons)
Carrie Preston (Doubt)
Danika Yarosh (Heores Reborn)
Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman) is a successful reality television executive producer. She is fired after her latest project, a show called I Can Do Better, where spouses choose between each other or prostitutes, results in one of the jilted men going on a shooting spree and attempts to assassinate Joanna, and she has a nervous breakdown. With her husband Walter (Matthew Broderick) and their two children, they move from Manhattan to Stepford, a quiet Connecticut suburb. Joanna becomes friends with Bobbie Markowitz (Bette Midler), a writer and recovering alcoholic, and Roger Bannister (Roger Bart), a flamboyant gay man who has moved to town with his long-time partner, Jerry (David Marshall Grant). Joanna, Bobbie and Roger witness an incident in which Sarah Sunderson (Faith Hill), violently dances and then collapses. A man named Mike (Christopher Walken) arrives and directs all men to crowd around Sarah so that no one can see what’s going on, although Joanna sees Mike touch Sarah and she puts off sparks. After Sarah is carried away, Claire (Glenn Close), the town’s leading lady, announces to Joanna that Mike essentially runs Stepford and says that she’s his wife.
Joanna argues with Walter about the incident with Sarah until he loses his temper and yells at her. He tells her that her children barely know her, that their marriage is falling apart, and that she’s so domineering people literally want to kill her. Realizing how unhappy she is, Joanna apologizes and agrees to try and fit in with the other wives. The next day, as she cleans the house and tries wearing more make-up, she talks with Bobbie and Roger, and they decide to visit Sarah. Entering the house, they hear Sarah having loud, passionate sex with her husband. Roger starts tiptoeing up the stairs to have a peek, and the women follow until they hear someone suddenly walking out of the room. They quickly return downstairs to hide, and they find a remote control labeled SARAH. While playing with it, they inadvertently cause Sarah’s breasts to enlarge before she falls on the staircase behind them. Frightened, they retreat to Bobbie’s house, where Joanna suggests that they seriously try to live in Stepford. During this time, the Stepford women appear extremely vapid and shallow; in the Stepford book club, their story is a catalogue of Christmas and Chanukah collectibles and decoration tips. Meanwhile, Walter has been bonding with the Stepford Men’s Association. When he wins $20 in a game from Ted, one of the Stepford Husbands, Ted summons his wife and puts a credit card in her mouth. She spits out $20 in one-dollar bills, revealing that she is a robot like the other women.
One evening, Walter and Mr Markowitz go to the Men’s Association with Roger and Jerry, but Joanna and Bobbie hire a babysitter and follow them. Sneaking around the Men’s Association, they find a long line of family portraits. They make a noise and Roger is sent out to see what’s going on. Although he does not reveal their presence to the other men, he tells Joanna and Bobbie that nothing illegal is going on there, and Joanna and Bobbie leave. Roger is directed through a door and he finds himself on a balcony overlooking the main hall. Looking down, he sees something puzzling, turns to the camera and softly utters “Jerry?” The next day, he is completely transformed, running for State Senate as a conservative gay Republican.
Terrified, Joanna tells Walter that she wants to move. Walter apologizes, saying that if she’s so miserable, they can leave tomorrow. She thanks him. That night, she is awakened by their robotic dog bringing her a bone. She is horrified to find that it’s actually a remote control, like Sarah’s but labeled JOANNA. She goes online to research the women of Stepford and learns that the women used to be scientists, CEOs, engineers and judges. The next morning she runs to see Bobbie, only to find that she, too, has become fawning and stupid. Joanna realizes that Bobbie isn’t human any more when Bobbie fails to react to the open flame of a lit stove. Joanna tries to flee but finds that her children have been taken hostage by the men.
She storms into the Men’s Club demanding that the men return her children, but the men, who have been lying in wait for her, capture her. The men explain that when their wives were scientists and engineers, their wives reduced them to low-level support roles. Enraged, the men implanted microchips into their wives’ brains and then transplanted their minds into cloned bodies, which became the men’s patient, subservient and impossibly beautiful robot mistresses. As Mike reveals Joanna’s new body, Walter voices his frustration at being second best to her. The men corner Joanna and Walter and force them toward the transformation room, but before Joanna enters, she makes a final appeal by asking whether the new wives really mean it when they tell their husbands that they love them. Later, Joanna appears at the grocery store, calmly purchasing groceries alongside the other wives.
With Joanna and Walter as the guests of honor, Stepford hosts a formal ball. During the festivities, Joanna distracts Mike and entices him into the garden while Walter slips away. Walter returns to the transformation room where he destroys the software that makes the women obedient. This in turn burns out all the implanted microchips, causing all the Stepford Wives to revert to their original personalities. Walter returns to the ball, where the baffled husbands are cornered by their vengeful wives. Walter reveals that Joanna never received the microchip implant; her argument during the struggle had won him over, and out of his love for and loyalty to the human being he married, he joined her plan to infiltrate Stepford by pretending to be a robot. Mike threatens Walter, but before Mike can attack, Joanna hits Mike with a candlestick, decapitating him and revealing that he himself is a robot. It is revealed that his wife Claire is a real woman and not a Stepford Wife as implied earlier. Distraught over the loss of her husband, Claire explains that she created Stepford because she, too, was a bitter, career-minded woman, a tired brain surgeon. When she discovered that Mike was having an affair, she murdered him and his lover in a jealous rage. Deciding to make the world ‘more beautiful’, she created her robot husband, partly because he was someone other men would listen to. When Joanna wonders aloud why Claire didn’t simply make the men into robots, she replies that she planned to turn the whole community into robots. Claire then electrocutes herself by kissing Mike’s severed robotic head.
Six months later Larry King is interviewing Joanna, Bobbie, and Roger. After their experiences in Stepford, they have all met with success; Joanna made a documentary, Bobbie wrote a book of poetry, and Roger won his state senate seat as an Independent. Joanna also notes that while her and Walter’s relationship isn’t perfect, it is still real, and that is what is important. Before ending the interview, King asks about the men’s fate. Bobbie reveals that they are being retrained back in Connecticut. The closing scene of the film reveals that the irate wives have taken over Stepford and forced their husbands to atone for their crimes by placing them under house arrest, making them complete many of the same domestic tasks that the men had forced the women to do.
The remake is more comedic and a more docile to a serious subject matter, its rather clumsy romance-comedy that does nothing to surpass the original. Its entertaining but it quickly fades when compared to the brilliance of the original film. It’s not an awful remake but its nothing special either.

REVIEW: DROWNING MONA

  CAST

Danny Devito (Batman Returns)
Bette Midler (Beaches)
Neve Campbell (Scream)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Tracey Walter (Conan The Destroyer)
Will Ferrell (The Other Guys)
Mark Pellegrino (Chuck)
Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Waynes World)

This typically barely seen dark, wonderfully tasteless, cynical and quirky comedy was one of the funniest movies of all in 2000. It’s a deliciously warped murder mystery, not without charm either, involving a roster of deliberately nitwit suspects so hilariously feeble-minded that they can’t help looking guilty…something expected when everyone learns just how hateful the much-loathed victim.

Great comedy players turn in gleefully wild performances when the situation call for it, but are intriguingly on edge in many scenes. So much for her death setting them free. To know Mona, as a nasty, bullying Bette Midler nails her so well, was to hate her, so naturally the question fast becomes not who would want to see her dead, but who wouldn’t?! It’s a shocking pleasure to see two slasher scream queens (Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis) in one film together.

There’s fun casting all the way through-Casey Affleck, William Fichtner, Mark Pellegrino, Kathleen Wilholte-who does a very funny song regarding the dead woman, proving no one had respect for her, and look for an early hialrious role by Will Ferrell, owner of a funeral home-his comment that “people have been more upset losing change in a slot machine, than over this woman” is one of many classic lines from people in this, and a number where ad-libbed, especially by Casey Affleck, a gifted comedian who puts his brother utterly to shade.

It is strange that De Vito’s sheriff really can’t understand anyone’s problem with Mona, nevermind anyone who’d want to kill her, but while he tries to uncover the truth, it seems more likely the town just wants to know who to thank.

Note worthy is the fact Melissa McCarthy appears in the film.