READY TO WEAR (PRET-A-PORTER)
(director/writer: Robert Altman; screenwriter: Barbara Shulgasser; cinematographers: Pierre Mignot/Jean Lepine; editor: Geraldine Peroni; music: Michel Legrand; cast: Lauren Bacall (Slim Chrysler), Kim Basinger (Kitty Potter), Linda Hunt (Regina Krumm), Sally Kellerman (Sissy Wanamaker), Sophia Loren (Isabella de la Fontaine), Marcello Mastroianni (Sergei), Stephen Rea (Milo O’Brannagan), Tim Robbins (Joe Flynn), Julia Roberts (Anne Eisenhower), Danny Aiello (Major Hamilton), Anouk Aimee (Simone Lowenthal), Jean-Pierre Cassel (Olivier de la Fontaine), Teri Garr (Louise Hamilton), Richard E. Grant (Cort Romney), Tracey Ullman (Nina Scant), Forest Whitaker (Cy Bianco), Rupert Everett (Jack Lowenthal); Runtime: 130; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Robert Altman; Miramax; 1994)
“The spoof goes nowhere and takes a long time in doing so.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Robert Altman (“Nashville”/”MASH”/”Popeye”)directs and cowrites with Barbara Shulgasser this messy pic about the fashion world. It covers the annual international fashion show held every September in Paris for a week. The plotless film, a satire on the industry, has an all-star cast but offers them not much to say as it pokes fun at the easy to ridicule industry targets. The pic is filled with many characters in converging storylines. The main participants are the following: The Kim Basinger character is a superficial American TV fashion reporter interviewing the participants (designers and journalists) with fluff questions.Sophia Loren is married to the head of the Paris fashion event, Jean-Pierre Cassel. She detests this hubby Number 2 and doesn’t blink when told he’s been murdered in his limo. Meanwhile hubby Number 1, Marcello Mastroianni, surprisingly returns as a sneak thief of luggage and will get Sophia to re-create the striptease she performed 30 years ago for him in “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”–but this time he falls asleep after she removes her stockings. Anouk Aimee is the designer mistress of the unpopular Cassel, whose slimy son, Rupert Everett, sells her business without telling her. Tim Robbins and Julia Roberts are reporters from American newspapers, who both lost their luggage and argue over a hotel room they both feel is theirs. They settle the dispute by sleeping together in the room they are arguing over and never leave, thereby neglecting their journalist duties. Stephen Rea is a popular but demented fashion photographer from Ireland, who steps out of bounds taking compromising photos of rival women editors of fashion magazines (Tracy Ullman, Sally Kellerman and Linda Hunt).
In minor roles: Lauren Bacall is a color-blind fashion doyenne; Danny Aiello is a cross-dressing buyer and Teri Garr is his shopping-spree wife; and Forest Whitaker plays a gay designer.
The spoof goes nowhere and takes a long time in doing so. Throughout it has different cast members stepping on poodle doo-doo. This recurring gag was supposed to be funny, but instead told you all you wanted to know about this stinker.
The pic is only vaguely amusing when it shows a number of kitsch runway model shows, saving the last one for its centerpiece shot of models without clothes walking the runway. The message sent is that clothes don’t make the person and that fashion is meaningless bullshit, and on a more serious note the textile industry is responsible for 50% of the world’s pollution.
REVIEWED ON 7/19/2011 GRADE: C+