The Banger Sisters (2002)
Main cast: Goldie Hawn (Suzette), Susan Sarandon (Lavinia Kingsley), Geoffrey Rush (Harry Plummer), Erika Christensen (Hannah Kingsley), Robin Thomas (Raymond Kingsley), and Eva Amurri (Ginger Kingsley)
Director: Bob Dolman

The Banger Sisters is one of those rare movies where women over thirty-five are still viewed as sexually desirable and still get a happy ending without being punished like those arty-farty European movies tend to do. The sight of Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn dancing in a club will thrill those people who are into MILFs everywhere. I commend Bob Dolman for scripting and directing a movie all about MILFs. Still, that doesn't change the fact that this movie is an annoyingly pedestrian and trite movie that offers an unrealistically too-convenient happy ending.

More than twenty years ago, Suzette and her best friend Lavinia Kingsley are dubbed the Banger Sisters because they are wild and hot groupies of rock stars everywhere. Today, Lavinia is married to a lawyer who is about to run for politics. She has kept her past under wraps and behaves like a proper high-class society wife. Then one day Suzette walks into her life, jobless and broke, hoping for a loan, and the two women will rekindle their friendship amidst plenty of family drama. Included in the mix is Harry Plummer, an out-of-luck screenwriter who is returning to Phoenix with his tail between his legs and a gun loaded with a single bullet. He thinks that Suzette is his muse while Suzette isn't sure that she can commit to a happily-ever-after with Harry.

Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn, and Geoffrey Rush are really good in their roles. Sarandon seems more comfortable as Lavinia than when she's "Vinnie", but she's able to deliver a great performance. The script doesn't offer anything deeper than a superficial look at Lavinia's feeling increasingly isolated from her new life, but Sarandon manages to convince me that there are depths to Lavinia, depths that the script only frustratingly hints at. Hawn's Suzette is a more straightforward rusty blonde bimbo with a heart of gold character, but she has great chemistry with Rush. What I really like about this movie is that it doesn't offer any apologies for Suzette and Lavinia being the Banger Sisters in their youth. Sure, they have been hurt too by the rock stars sometimes, but they never make judgments about their own past or allow anyone else to.

But this movie becomes increasingly maudlin as it progresses. The ending scene is a feel-good speech thingie, but when I think a little about it, the speech doesn't make sense and it is inserted as a rushed way to wrap up all the issues faced by the Kingsley household in a neat and tidy manner. Such unthinking Hallmark sentiments reduce this movie into an inferior pap more suited for late-night cable.

It's a pity that the script is hopelessly pedestrian because the main cast put their hearts into their roles. If this movie proves anything, there are actresses out there that can put together a vibrant movie that is worth watching and it is only Hollywood's chauvinist standards that assume that people have no interest in watching women over the age of thirty on the big screen. But The Banger Sisters won't be challenging this unfortunate perception anytime soon. If only Dolman has worked a little more depths and realistic emotions into his script.

Rating: 69

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