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The Banger Sisters (15)



Review: Jack Foley | Rating: 2

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by director Bob Dolman; HBO Special; Scene access; Interactive menus; Blooper reel.

GOLDIE Hawn and Susan Sarandon make an endearing double act in this soppy comedy about two former rock ‘n’ roll groupies who are reunited to confront the reality of what their lives have become.

Back in the late Sixties, Suzette (Hawn) and Vinnie (Sarandon) became famous for getting into the pants of every music legend of the time (from Zappa to Morrison), yet it has been two decades since ‘the Banger sisters’ last laid eyes on one another.

Now, Suzette is a struggling former bartender, still living in the past (albeit with an increased bust line), while Vinnie has become a prim suburban mother and a community pillar.

For the former, the reunion marks a last chance to rescue her life from its self-destructive spiral, while for the latter, it offers the opportunity to take a look at what she has become and a chance to get in touch with her former self; one that has been buried by the passage of time.

The ensuing comedy is neither as raunchy, nor as funny, as it ought to be, but is rescued from obscurity by the efforts of its talented cast.

Hawn, in particular, provides the majority of the laughs as the sex-charged former siren who still isn’t sure what she’s looking for and her sassy, outspoken Suzette could easily be an older version of the character her real-life daughter, Kate Hudson, portrayed in Almost Famous (Penny Lane), albeit with a nice line in self-depreciation.

Her chemistry with Sarandon works well and the two frequently rise above their material to make things more enjoyable than they would at first seem.

Geoffrey Rush, as a struggling writer who is picked up by Suzette on the way to Phoenix to shoot his father, is also good value as her eventual love interest, while several of the support players (including Kohl Sudduth’s hotel clerk) display some nice comic timing.

That said, former Traffic star, Erika Christensen, is completely wasted as yet another drug-addicted daughter, while first-time director, Bob Dolman’s film all too frequently opts for easy laughs at the expense of bodily functions (a device which is beginning to wear thin).

The final 20 minutes are also horrendously sentimental and way too preachy with Christensen, once again, being given the onerous task of delivering the ‘moral’ lesson during her graduation speech.

But then this is a movie which clearly has its gaze fixed on the ‘happy-ending’ obsessed mainstream from the outset, while also being one that is more likely to appeal to the girls more than the guys.

For those seeking a little bit of undemanding fun, however, it has plenty to offer during its middle section - just don’t expect to be seeking an encore.

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