ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  bob dolman

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  sci-fi

LENGTH  -  97 minutes

RELEASED  -  20 september 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  fox searchlight

OFFICIAL SITE  -  the banger sisters

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $10,000,000
the banger sisters - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from the banger sisters at

buy the dvd from the banger sisters at

two former rock groupies and best friends reconnect after 20 years. one is still as wild as ever, while the other has adopted a more conservative lifestyle.

susan sarandon and eva amurri are mother and daughter, and this is their fourth film together.


picture from the banger sisters

picture from the banger sisters

picture from the banger sisters


two out of four possible stars

While it has a lot of humor in spots, The Banger Sisters is missing the spark it needs to become a fun ride from start to finish. Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn give performances which, on their best days, would be considered entertaining and heartwarming, but they don't make as much of a raucous together as they should have for this film. There are too many places where silence intrudes on the flow of the film. In nearly every scene, there are pauses taken by the characters that interrupt the jokes rather than give them weight.

In some films, the adage "less is more" is quite appropriate, but with The Banger Sisters, this saying was taken too literally by the editor. While the acting during the more emotional scenes is nothing less than one would expect from Sarandon and Hawn, those performances still contain many places where someone gazes at another character for a moment, and makes the audience wait for their next line. Perhaps this was the actors' way of putting a little suspense into the film, but in a comedy, suspense is hardly the right tactic to take.

At ninety-eight minutes, the editor had plenty of room to cut the silence down, without making the film into the length of a television sitcom. But bearing in mind that the cast usually doesn't have a say in how the director and editor piece the film together, it should be said that when the jokes were successful, they were almost side-splittingly funny. When Sarandon and Hawn are on the screen together, the film seems to light up. But when they're apart, which they are for over half the film, it turns into a waiting game to see when they'll come back together again for the comedy.

In considering the other performances of the film, Geoffrey Rush should be complimented on his ability to include both physical and audial comedy in his performance. Often, actors utilize one method or the other, but Rush immerses himself completely in his character the results are usually hilarious whether he's sharing the screen with Susan and Goldie or not. Erika Christensen, with her smaller role playing Susan's daughter, "Hannah," holds her own against the more experienced members of the cast. Eva Amurri, who also plays Susan's daughter, but plays her on screen and off, sounds like a screeching bird sometimes, but brings her character to life well nonetheless.

But when all these performances are put together, it's obvious that the cast of this film is not the problem. The composition and story is too straightforward and the lack of surprises hurts the film. Although the comedy is a welcome diversion, many times the film proceeds in a fashion so familiar, that one must rely on the actors to provide something interesting to look at, rather than on the screenwriter's dialogue. For example, there is a scene where Goldie Hawn has a conversation about a banana hammock. The scene is funny because of Goldie Hawn and her reaction to it.

The talent of the cast is evident then, in scenes where it's possible to guess every word that will come out of a character's mouth, before that actor has said it. The Banger Sisters is a mixed case of a film possessing an engaging cast, but a weak script that makes its actors do all the work. The specific subject of the film, two former groups that reunite after twenty years to find themselves in very different circumstances, is a good idea for this movie to rest on.

But there isn't enough creativity on the page or behind the camera to put this movie over the top. An element that really seemed to be missing was a noticeable soundtrack. Since much of the film deals with the idea that these two fifty-year-old former groupies were once involved with countless rock stars, the songs picked for the soundtrack were not used frequently enough. There were snippets of classic rock songs, but they really should have been more a part of the story. Perhaps they could have filled some of the gaping silences.

What this film amounts to is a mixture of pure comedy and uncomfortable sequences which could have been tightened up somewhat. The predictable dialogue could have been forgiven in most instances if the editor had clipped this picture with some more enthusiasm. Fans of Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon will be pleased that these two actresses can give engrossing performances, and will probably overlook the slow spots. Geoffrey Rush is definitely a bonus and has the best delivery of any actor in the film. This picture is undemanding of its audience, so perhaps its viewers should be also.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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