The comedy/drama The Women was released into theaters on Friday with a blockbuster cast starring Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler, Candice Bergen, Carrie Fisher and several less notable women actors. No significant male roles made it into the film.
The film’s female director is Diane English, who also wrote the screenplay, while the producer is none other than Mick Jagger. The movie is a remake of George Kukor’s The Women from 1939, which naturally was updated to the 21st century, including the role of Alex Fisher, a lesbian. Jada Pinkett Smith nails that character perfectly and steals many a scene with some of her outrageous comments.
Most of the cast’s careers are on the downward side with the exception of Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith and Debra Messing, however, Meg Ryan and Annette Bening are generally still strong box office draws.
Eva Mendes stars as Crystal Allen, a part that was originally played by Joan Crawford in 1939. Mendes plays her usual bad girl role in this film working at Macy’s behind the perfume counter and is derisively referred to as “the spritzer girl” by the so called “good girls” in the film.
Mendes is having an affair with the husband of Meg Ryan, who plays Mary Haines, a role that was played by Norma Shearer in the 1939 version. Mendes is totally open about trying to steal Ryan’s wealthy husband away from her.
The film is receiving mostly poor reviews from movie critics, and I read one review that especially criticized Eva Mendes in the Crystal Allen role. However, most of the negative reviews compare the 2008 The Women to the 1939 version and also compare the 2008 actors to the 1939 actors.
The 1939 version featured Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and Rosalind Russell, all of whom were at the peak of their careers back in ‘39. If you watch the film while forgetting that the ‘39 version ever existed, it can be very entertaining.
Candice Bergen, Bette Midler and Cloris Leachman are excellent in their roles, and I, for one, am also an Eva Mendes fan. So I do not believe that she deserved the pan she received from the imdb.com web site.
Eva has been in the news quite a bit this year, first for stint in rehab at Utah’s Cirque Lodge back in January and then for her posterior nude shot for an ad for the animal rights group PETA.
However, her most controversial move was a totally nude TV ad for Calvin Klein during which her nipple is exposed for all to see. The ad was banned by network television, but the ban simply added fuel to the fire, creating a ton of publicity for Calvin Klein and for Mendes.
To his credit, Jay Leno showed the ad on his show, but the nipple exposure was deliberately blurred out.
Mendes has been working her career just right so far in the supporting parts she has played. Her remarkable beauty will undoubtedly help land her a major starring role soon. When it does, look out, because Eva Mendes is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the film industry.
The following is the trailer for “The Women:”