Picks and Pans Review: These Old Broads
Shirley MacLaine, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Collins, even Elizabeth Taylor. The gang's all here—now what?
That was the problem for Carrie Fisher (Reynolds's daughter) and Elaine Pope, who collaborated on the script of this lavishly cast TV movie. The solution: Toss the principals into a rehash of The Sunshine Boys, provide them with plenty of bitchy dialogue, and add time-filling plot complications as necessary.
MacLaine, Reynolds and Collins play feuding has-been actresses back in vogue thanks to the rerelease of a 40-year-old Hollywood musical in which they co-starred. Taylor shows up for a few scenes as their overripe agent. Jonathan Silverman portrays MacLaine's son, an inexperienced director trying to keep the divas from doing violence to one another during preparations for a TV reunion special. The ladies' insults are vivid ("One more face-lift and she'll blow her nose through her forehead"), but after about an hour it all starts to sound like Joan Rivers in stereo. So the film resorts to frantic slapstick involving the corpse of Collins's gangster boyfriend—shades of Weekend at Bernie's, one of Silverman's career low-lights—and drags in questions about the Silverman character's parentage and sexual preference. Though the four headlines undoubtedly enjoyed spoofing themselves, Broads gets old fast.
Bottom Line: Big names, little fun