Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Hot Flashes

Funny, sometimes funky feminist fable by ur-feminist director Susan Seidelman is easy to like, if hard to believe.

July 12, 2013

-By Marsha McCreadie


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1380718-Hot_Flashes_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The t-shirts are fantastic in The Hot Flashes: a spiffy combination of pink and yellow, with a zaggy thunderbolt across the chest. And so are the basketball scenes which pit the eponymous middle-aged, homegrown team of Burning Bush, Texas against the high-school state champions, the Armadillos, 30 years their junior and cocky as all get-out. The movie, however, is a little clunky though sweet, with Brooke Shields playing Beth Humphreys, a middle-aged woman undergoing some sweats due to her own change-of-life, an increasingly rocky marriage, and worries about the loss of a breast cancer clinic in town.

It’s a twofer—maybe more—of feminist issues, which is fitting for director Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan), a pioneer maker of movies about and for women.

It’s no great surprise when Beth sets out to round up her former high-school team of 1980 in order to take on a good fight: a special basketball match to raise money for the cause and keep the van “Tess Muldoon and Mobile Mammography” in business. Her teammates include Clementine Winks (Virginia Madsen), Ginger Peabody (Daryl Hannah), Florine Clarkston (Wanda Sykes) and Roxie Rosales (Camryn Manheim). Will the Hot Flashes win? Will Beth make the closing, triumphant rim shot? Is pink the color for breast cancer awareness?

The Hot Flashes is most successful when it maintains an ironic edge, such as a satirical bit in the beginning when Beth goes to a Christian center for a conference on menopause, with a slide show declaring “God created menopause” to free your inner goddess, and that 50 is the new 30. But it’s less effective in melodramatic sequences about Beth’s marriage to a husband with a wandering eye, played by Eric Roberts.

Nearly every type of p.c. character is on view, from the enthusiastic “little person” coach of the team—a disgraced veterinarian who freed animals, played by Mark Povinelli—to the African-American running for mayor (Sykes), who reverts to her “natural” hairdo when on the basketball court. Shields is terrific as a motivator of the women, and other team members witty in their broadly drawn roles: Madsen as a wise-cracking multiple divorcée who can throw a punch as well as a basketball; Manheim as a self-deprecating baker with some high-inducing secret ingredients as well as some “plus-size” body issues. The only miss is Hannah’s lesbian who refuses to come out of the closet; most distressing is her fright-wig hair arrangement and presentation as frumpy/schlumpy.

It’s not Seidelman’s script, which may account for the somewhat forced feeling to the bonding among team members, the pro-forma feminist talk about mutual female support, standing up for yourself and fighting ageism. All worthy, and true, but coming off as clichéd and oddly dated. This is too bad, since the movie does make the connection among women in sports, female empowerment and breast cancer awareness, not an easy yoking.

Still, the film is hilarious in spots when it’s spoofy, particularly when it sends itself up. The Hot Flashes have become so well-known in fact, the film tells us, that teams are sprouting up all over Texas to bring support to the cause: the “Night Sweats,” for instance, and the “Waco Mood Swings.” But the coach gets the best line, referencing the 1986 film Hoosiers about an underdog basketball team. Trying to motivate his players, he urges them on, declaring, “What are we waiting for, Gene Hackman?"


Film Review: The Hot Flashes

Funny, sometimes funky feminist fable by ur-feminist director Susan Seidelman is easy to like, if hard to believe.

July 12, 2013

-By Marsha McCreadie


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1380718-Hot_Flashes_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The t-shirts are fantastic in The Hot Flashes: a spiffy combination of pink and yellow, with a zaggy thunderbolt across the chest. And so are the basketball scenes which pit the eponymous middle-aged, homegrown team of Burning Bush, Texas against the high-school state champions, the Armadillos, 30 years their junior and cocky as all get-out. The movie, however, is a little clunky though sweet, with Brooke Shields playing Beth Humphreys, a middle-aged woman undergoing some sweats due to her own change-of-life, an increasingly rocky marriage, and worries about the loss of a breast cancer clinic in town.

It’s a twofer—maybe more—of feminist issues, which is fitting for director Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan), a pioneer maker of movies about and for women.

It’s no great surprise when Beth sets out to round up her former high-school team of 1980 in order to take on a good fight: a special basketball match to raise money for the cause and keep the van “Tess Muldoon and Mobile Mammography” in business. Her teammates include Clementine Winks (Virginia Madsen), Ginger Peabody (Daryl Hannah), Florine Clarkston (Wanda Sykes) and Roxie Rosales (Camryn Manheim). Will the Hot Flashes win? Will Beth make the closing, triumphant rim shot? Is pink the color for breast cancer awareness?

The Hot Flashes is most successful when it maintains an ironic edge, such as a satirical bit in the beginning when Beth goes to a Christian center for a conference on menopause, with a slide show declaring “God created menopause” to free your inner goddess, and that 50 is the new 30. But it’s less effective in melodramatic sequences about Beth’s marriage to a husband with a wandering eye, played by Eric Roberts.

Nearly every type of p.c. character is on view, from the enthusiastic “little person” coach of the team—a disgraced veterinarian who freed animals, played by Mark Povinelli—to the African-American running for mayor (Sykes), who reverts to her “natural” hairdo when on the basketball court. Shields is terrific as a motivator of the women, and other team members witty in their broadly drawn roles: Madsen as a wise-cracking multiple divorcée who can throw a punch as well as a basketball; Manheim as a self-deprecating baker with some high-inducing secret ingredients as well as some “plus-size” body issues. The only miss is Hannah’s lesbian who refuses to come out of the closet; most distressing is her fright-wig hair arrangement and presentation as frumpy/schlumpy.

It’s not Seidelman’s script, which may account for the somewhat forced feeling to the bonding among team members, the pro-forma feminist talk about mutual female support, standing up for yourself and fighting ageism. All worthy, and true, but coming off as clichéd and oddly dated. This is too bad, since the movie does make the connection among women in sports, female empowerment and breast cancer awareness, not an easy yoking.

Still, the film is hilarious in spots when it’s spoofy, particularly when it sends itself up. The Hot Flashes have become so well-known in fact, the film tells us, that teams are sprouting up all over Texas to bring support to the cause: the “Night Sweats,” for instance, and the “Waco Mood Swings.” But the coach gets the best line, referencing the 1986 film Hoosiers about an underdog basketball team. Trying to motivate his players, he urges them on, declaring, “What are we waiting for, Gene Hackman?"
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Film Review: The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

Venture inside the hallowed hallways of Japan's most prestigious animation studio in this insightful documentary. More »

Antarctica: A  Year On Ice
Film Review: Antarctica: A Year on Ice

Thrilling, award-winning New Zealand doc about the mysterious and forbidding continent at the bottom of the world is not your usual travelogue, but a surprising exploration of the human soul and human needs. Happily, adorable penguins and stunning visuals also get screen time. More »

Remote Area Medical
Film Review: Remote Area Medical

Doc offers in-the-trenches evidence of dire need in the U.S. health-care system. More »

Immortalists
Film Review: The Immortalists

Attention-grabbing subject meets colorful characters in this science doc. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Penguins of Madagascar
Film Review: Penguins of Madagascar

Frenetic vehicle for supporting players from the Madagascar films will entertain kids but prove a little wearying for their parents. More »

imitation game
Film Review: The Imitation Game

Terrific biopic about world-class mathematician and social misfit Alan Turing, who, in spite of a painful struggle with his homosexuality, helped the Allies break the code of the Nazis' Enigma machine. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here