Picks and Pans Review: Bad Girls

updated 05/09/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/09/1994 01:00AM

Madeleine Stowe, Mary Stuart Masterson, Andie MacDowell, Drew Barrymore, James LeGros

I do believe," a woman sitting behind me at Bad Girls announced as the credits rolled, "that they talked too much in this film. The beauty of westerns is that they don't talk all the time." Precisely. Bad Girls, an oater about four prostitutes running from the law, simply has too much yappin' and too much plot.

Despite this, and actually almost because of its excesses, the movie has a certain loopy, lurid appeal. Stowe, Masterson, MacDowell and Barrymore, as the ladies on the lam, stomp around in breeches as if auditioning for the I Love Lucy grape-mashing scene. They also say "yew" when they mean "you," and dream of heading for the Oregon territories to start a sawmill. As one of them says in one of the movie's hoot-worthier lines, "We sold our bodies. Why can't we sell wood?"

Director Jonathan Kaplan, who took over three weeks into shooting after another director was let go, seems to not have had time to get a complete handle on the material and, consequently, the movie feels choppy. With the exception of Stowe, who is doing a variation here on her hard-boiled persona seen earlier this year in Blink, the hooker heroines are underwritten and the actresses have little to do besides stay astride their horses. Barrymore, especially, seems at a loss, resorting to pouting and curling her lip à la Elvis. As for the men, only LeGros, playing a tenderhearted rancher, makes you sit up and pay attention. (R)

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