"No tribute, only corny, campy humor and cheap one-liners."
While interviewing Alison Eastwood last year for FRIENDS AND LOVERS she made a comment about trying to find something good in every movie she sees noting, "it's just so hard to make a movie in the first place." Eastwood may have been trying to gain sympathy for the malnourished FRIENDS AND LOVERS but somehow her statement stayed with me as I proceeded to watch many more quality-starved films throughout 1999. And in some cases I tried extra hard to find some small goodness in even the most poorly conceived films. Sometimes it worked - sometimes it didn't.Here lies one of the biggest challenges I've had to face recently - find something good about ISN'T SHE GREAT, the new insipid comedy starring Bette Midler and Nathan Lane based on an article about the life of author Jacqueline Susann.
For starters the costumes are very, very, uh, colorful and the scenery is quite lovely. There, said and done. Now moving on, ISN'T SHE GREAT's biggest problem is the genre it's written for. The film is written as a screwball comedy yet has Jacqueline giving birth to her only child whom she can never reach out to because he is born autistic and years later Jacqueline suffering from and ultimately dying of breast cancer. And yet the producers thought this would be one hell of a wacky comedy? What were they thinking?
The story would have been ideally played out as a drama - a small indie project - that focused on the author who just wanted to be famous and eventually did become famous by writing what some refer to as "smut novels," including Valley Of The Dolls and The Love Machine.More personal background on the flamboyant novelist and where she came from would have greatly helped the memoir of Ms. Susann's rise to fame who, with ISN'T SHE GREAT, gets no fitting tribute, only corny, campy humor and cheap one-liners. - Pamela Harland - iF Magazine - http://ifmagazine.ifctv.com