Picks and Pans Review: The Women

updated 09/22/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/22/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing | PG-13 |


Straight hair and high heels equal happiness. That's the takeaway here as a frumpish, curly-maned, flats-wearing society wife (Ryan) falls to pieces upon learning that her Wall Street financier hubby is cheating on her. But, after switching to ironed hair and heels and adopting a "me first" attitude, she recovers, cheered on by close pals (Bening, Pinkett Smith and Messing).

In updating Clare Boothe Luce's venomous 1936 play and '39 film version, writer-director Diane English (Murphy Brown) declaws this cattiest of classics. Bad decision. Now Women plays like just another limp celebration of female bonding. Unlike Sex and the City, there's no one in The Women with whom you'd want to have brunch, no matter how hot the restaurant.

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