The Women

Diane English, creator of TV's Murphy Brown, directs this update of the 1939 George Cukor melodrama (based on Clare Boothe Luce's play), filing away its barbed edges in a knee-jerk bow to sisterhood—the antithesis of Luce's take on female “friendship” as minefield. When seasoned comediennes Cloris Leachman, Candice Bergen, and Bette Midler aren't on-screen, English falls back on Meg Ryan in the Norma Shearer role of a saintly wife with a cheating husband. But Ryan, barely refining her When Harry Met Sally persona, is a dud; Annette Bening, playing the best friend who sells her out to a tabloid, is better in the scenes she doesn't share with her. Still, the script has a few zingers, and for the guys dragged along to this superfluous exercise, there's Eva Mendes as the home wrecker in La Perla undies. PG-13, 118 min.

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