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Home » Culture and Criticism

13/31: Bad Girls

Submitted by on January 13, 2015 – 5:59 PM3 Comments
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Couch Baron and I planned to do a dialogue-style review of Bad Girls, but then CB fell asleep.

He stirred briefly when I snarled, "The word 'millinery' has TWO ELLS IN IT," then returned to a slumbrous state, leaving me alone to wonder why a movie that left turds like "We sold our bodies, why can't we sell some wood?" in the script punchbowl troubled itself with chronologically accurate fake currency.

About that turd. Bad Girls is the story of four saloon sex workers who light out for Texas after one of them, Cody (Madeleine Stowe), shoots a client who's slapping her co-worker Anita (Mary Stuart Masterson) around, then is rescued from the hangman's noose by Anita, Eileen (Andie MacDowell), and Lilly (Drew Barrymore). Anita has a 40-acre claim her dead husband left her; Cody has twelve grand. Why not open a sawmill in the Pacific Northwest? All for one et cetera! But first, a bank robbery, a dark figure from Cody's past, James Le Gros toting a box of TNT around like it's a bag of chicken wings, and…WAKE UP, COUCH BARON.

It's terrible, really. What's worse, it had potential of a sort — what would happen if four frontier prostitutes set out on their own, hunted by incompetent Pinkertons or just for the hell of it? But the painfully earnest script isn't concerned with authenticity (nobody ever puts her hair up, even to elude detection by law enforcement), yet can't stick the landing for heightened Rio Bravo-type fantasy either. Not that the actors seem to know that; Masterson and Dermot Mulroney in particular play it straight, trying to make it good. (Le Gros, obligated to pretend he's in love with the hair extensions stapled to particle board that is MacDowell, falls well short of "convincing.") Only Barrymore appears to know that she's in a potential camp classic, but she never gets to french a lady like she's constantly on the verge of doing, and the whole thing fizzles.

Madeleine Stowe is just right for Revenge; you forget sometimes what a dud she is in almost everything else, Mona Lockjaw with the Method hair. She's not why Bad Girls stinks, but she's the wrong lead for a movie that needed to laugh a little at itself.

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3 Comments »

  • John Ramos says:

    It's very true I did my own sawmill impression during much of this film, but it's worth nothing that the film was SO BAD that you barely had time to make fun of your go-to punchline Andie MacDowell. Kudos for making it through, hee.

  • Beanie says:

    Loved The Last of the Mohicans in spite of Madeleine Stowe, haven't been able to stomach her in anything since.

    I agree that this movie COULD have been a blast; instead, it sucked so hard, it blew.

    The next time I want to see how prostitutes may have behaved in the Old West, I'll watch Deadwood.

  • I liked Stowe in LAST OF THE MOHICANS, SHORT CUTS, BLINK and 12 MONKEYS, but I will agree this is pretty bad, and only Masterson escapes from this with her dignity intact.