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The Women

An update of the bitchy classic is lackluster.

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One remakes classics at one's peril, and I'm not sure we needed (or wanted) another version of Clare Booth Luce's bitchy comedy of manners, filmed in 1939 by noted "ladies' director" George Cukor. But a proposed remake has been kicked around for a decade, and now Diane English (creator of Murphy Brown) has delivered a rather tepid and pointless update. The original story may be hopelessly dated today, but beneath the archness and the outdated social mores, the work drew its power -- and its bitterness -- from depicting a necessary, if troubled sorority that sustained women in a world dominated by men. (Neither film has any male parts.) Minus that giant hindrance, The Women 2008 (brought to you by Saks, Lexus and Dove) is a wafer-thin chick flick about vapid, whiny, well-to-do women who want it all -- and get it, with seemingly little cost. Most of the drama involves shrieking over expensive consumer products, and the performances -- by Meg Ryan, Annette Bening and Candice Bergen -- are all fluffy when they should be sharp. Starts Fri., Sept. 12. (AH)

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