Sony // 2001 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // August 26th, 2009
Kate Westbourne: "I know a friend who lipoed her stomach once. A few
months later, she looked like Jabba the Hutt."
Miriam: "Who's Jabba the Hutt?"
Addie Holden: "It's a sea slug, Mummy, from outer space and it's not a compliment."
These Old Broads is an excuse to get three "old broads" together to make a light comedy where they get to basically play themselves. Could it possibly be considered a stretch to get Shirley MacLaine (Terms of Endearment) to convince us she's an aging New Age diva who spouts off about reincarnation, Debbie Reynolds (Mother) as an innocent musical star running a casino with her hubby, or Joan Collins (Dynasty) appearing as a plastic-surgery-obsessed older sex bomb? Throw in Elizabeth Taylor (National Velvet) in a small role as their bed ridden agent, and you have a TV movie starring four dames right about to turn seventy back in 2001 when the film was made. Oddly enough the light script was penned by Debbie's daughter, Carrie Fisher (Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi), who even makes a cameo as a hooker in a jail cell. This was a very light project that would have easily disappeared in to the ether, if not for the fact that the cast was so great. It marks the only time Debbie Reynolds and Liz Taylor shared the screen, after Taylor hooked up with Reynolds' husband, Eddie Fisher. They even get a long exchange with a fictionalized version of what you would imagine they would say to each other in the film. It is also the last film appearance for Taylor, who seems to not want to appear on the screen again.
The plot is a hokey trifle. It concerns three actresses who reunite after many decades because their film musical is suddenly a cult hit and fans are clamoring to see them together one more time. They all hate each other, but the money offered is too much to pass up. An adopted son of MacLaine's character (Johnathan Silverman, Weekend at Bernie's) has to write and direct the special, so we have the mother-son tension. Of course nothing goes right when they get together, and all three women end up confronting past demons in a farcical way. It's a lot of wig-pulling and cat fights, and the whole thing comes off as silly light fun. There are some weak musical numbers that would make The Golden Girls wince, but at least the old broads are all pretty dang good at comedy.
Sony gives us a DVD that looks pretty good considering it's a televised film. There's nothing wrong with the transfer. The fullscreen aspect ratio is preserved, and there aren't too many flaws to be found. Color saturation is strong. The simple stereo audio does just fine with dialogue and musical numbers. Don't expect any extras though; it's a bare as they come. I suppose we're lucky to even get chapters for this one.
In the end These Old Broads is forgettable, but a nice treat for fans of any of the lead actresses who will get a giggle at the real life humor thrown in for good measure. All of these gals survived World War II, and still can find a good natured way to laugh at themselves. That alone deserves a nod here and there, but you can't help but wish they could have found a better way to ride off into the sunset. For the most part all of them have done just that with Liz Taylor being the sole holdout in that department. Sony provides us a nice transfer, but little else other than the chance to see this one more time.
Guilty of being over the hill and far too light, but good natured enough to admit it.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated