RETROSPECTIVE: BAD GIRLS (1994)

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Serdar Yegulalp

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Jun 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/26/97
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BAD GIRLS
A film review by Serdar Yegulalp
Copyright 1997 Serdar Yegulalp

CAPSULE: Just "Bad" will do nicely, thanks. Dreadful Western with a
crackerjack cast and absolutely nowhere to go.


The bad girls of the title are by themselves promising: Madeleine Stowe,
Mary Stuart Masterson, Andie MacDowell, and Drew Barrymore. Too bad they
have some of the worst 99 minutes of their collective careers in BAD GIRLS,
a drearily uninteresting Western that tries to put a feminist twist on old
oats and fails miserably.

All four girls are prostitutes in the Old West, and Masterson's character
gets into a particularly contrived conflict one day. When Stoew saves her
bacon and is nearly hung from the rafters by the Temperance Union, the four
of them get their goods together and ride off into the sunset. Apparently
Masterson's character has a deed to some land in Oregon, courtesy of her
dead husband, and they decide, just like that, to go settle it. I've seen
less contrived developments extracted from fortune cookies.

The plot goes in blind circles, ignoring all manner of logic or common
sense. The movie is so desperate to have something, *anything* happen to
these four that it blatantly manufactures events that most other movies
would steer clear of. After a while (about 40 minutes) the movie settles
down into a humdrum kind of threnody, and even the obligatory Big Shoot-Out
at the end redeems nothing. It's amazing how dull the whole thing is. Even a
scene with Drew Barrymore reigning in a runaway buggy doesn't grab our
interest.

The "soiled doves" of the Old West could have been the subject of a neat
movie. As such, UNFORGIVEN will serve as that movie. This one isn't even
good for a laugh.


One half out of four petticoats.
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