The Banger Sisters

on September 20, 2002 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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   Two promiscuous groupies from the '60s, meeting up again after a long estrangement, try to deal with each other's now differing lifestyles in director/scripter Bob Dolman's promising but disappointingly moralistic and superficial film. Now in her 50s, Suzette (Goldie Hawn) still leads a wild life of sex, drugs and rock & roll, resulting as the movie opens in her losing yet another job, this one at a legendary rock club. At loose ends and needing money, she decide to hook up with her long-lost best friend, Vinnie (Susan Sarandon), who has remade herself as Lavinia, a prim and proper society matron with a fabricated pristine past. Of course, once Suzette infiltrates Lavinia's life, the two old friends, as is Hollywood's wont, learn from each other and become the better for it.

   It's too bad Dolman didn't fashion a smart movie--like the similarly themed but much subtler "Metroland"--that might have given each woman her due and admitted that maybe their lives went in the directions that suited them best. Instead, Lavinia learns to loosen up again and Suzette gets to settle down a bit--an outcome that's facile and obvious and says nothing trenchant or relevant about the hedonistic ideals of the 1960s confronting the conservative, grim realities of 21st-century America. Even the potentially subversive idea of history repeating itself--through Lavinia's oldest daughter, Hannah (Erika Christensen), who is rebelling by doing exactly what her mother used to do at her age--isn't mined for anything but easy laughs. Hawn, in a one-note performance, and Geoffrey Rush, annoyingly over the top as Harry, a failed, neurotic screenwriter Suzette picks up en route, don't help matters any. Only Sarandon shines: Her transition from a straight-laced mother to a down-and-dirty party girl is both funny and affecting. It's also the only genuine aspect of a movie that's as fake as they come. Starring Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn and Geoffrey Rush. Directed and written by Bob Dolman. Produced by Mark Johnson and Elizabeth Cantillon. Comedy/Drama. A Fox Searchlight release. Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use. Running time: 97 min

Tags: Starring Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn, Geoffrey Rush, Directed and written by Bob Dolman, Produced by Mark Johnson, Elizabeth Cantillon, Fox Searchlight, Comedy
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