The Women movie review: The Women tells the story of Mary Haines (Meg Ryan), a clothing designer who seems to have it all – a beautiful country home, a rich financier husband, an adorable 11-year-old daughter and a part-time career creating designs for her father's venerable clothing company. Her best friend, Sylvie Fowler (Annette Bening), leads another enviable life – a happily single editor of a prominent fashion magazine, a possessor of a huge closet of designer clothes and a revered arbiter of taste and style poised on New York's cutting edge. But when Mary's husband enters into an affair with Crystal Allen (Eva Mendes), a sultry 'spritzer girl' lurking behind the Saks Fifth Avenue perfume counter, all hell breaks loose. Mary and Sylvie's relationship is tested to the breaking point while their tight-knit circle of friends, including mega-mommy Edie Cohen (Debra Messing) and author Alex Fisher (Jada Pinkett-Smith), all start to question their own friendships and romantic relationships as well.
Skip it: First time filmmaker Diane English (“Murphy Brown”) labored for over a decade to bring this project to the screen, but passion shouldn’t be confused with vision. Her barely competent direction results in a film that lurches awkwardly from one poorly staged scene to the next, leaving it entirely up to the actors to find their own way. That’s OK for a pro like Bening—who imagines Sylvie as an ultimate chick flick hybrid of Samantha Jones and Miranda Priestly—less so for almost everyone else. It’s been too long since Ryan had a high profile lead role, but this isn’t the comeback she deserves.
Catch it: To marvel at English’s insistence at keeping with the material’s all-female cast tradition. There’s literally not a man on screen, ever. Too bad it just feels like a pointless gimmick this time around, considering the amount of exterior scenes (no men on the streets of New York? Really?) and the importance of Mary’s husband to the plot.
Bottom line: English’s stabs at modernizing the story (the women have careers! Alex is a lesbian!) simultaneously fail at creating relatable portraits of contemporary women and compelling reasons to spend time with the characters. If you’re dying for a split screen fashion show or yet another manic cinematic childbirth sequence, you’ll get want you pay for. But fans of female bonding already had a far superior fix with “Sex,” and even the creaky “Mamma Mia!” offered a higher quality of frivolous escapism. Source: Metromix
Box Office: Despite the mostly negative reviews, the film was a moderate box office success. On its opening weekend, the film earned $10,115,210, ranking #4 behind Righteous Kill, The Family That Preys, and Burn After Reading. The film eventually grossed $26,902,075 in the US and $21,786,726 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $48,688,801.