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The Banger Sisters

Starring Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon; Geoffrey Rush, Erika Christensen, Robin Thomas, Eva Amurri
Written and Directed by Bob Dolman
website: www.foxsearchlight.com

IN SHORT: An OK flick for us grownups. [Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use. 94 minutes]

Given their name, at least in this film's Universe, by the late Frank Zappa, "The Banger Sisters" hummed their way through just about every rocker that strut a stage from the late 60s through the 1980s. One retired to raise a family. One still walks the rock 'n' roll highway and thus begins a buddy story for grownups. It also explains why the ad campaign -- something along the lines of "you wouldn't believe it, but your mom used to partee!!"-- is desperately trying to grab the teen dollars. Grownups with kidlets tend to rent.

Grownups with kidlets also need the occasional night out and The Banger Sisters, while dead on perfect for rental, is just fluffy enough for a good grown up date.

We also want to complement Goldie Hawn, who plays Suzette, on not being afraid to show what fifty or so years of rock 'n' roll partying can do to one's Self. Suzette, a bartender at ground zero for LA's rock scene, the Whiskey, looks like hell and has an attitude to match. That's a bit much for the bar's manager, young enough to be the son she never had, and soon Suzette and her skin tight imitation leopard skin (sic) pants are bounced from the scene for good. With nothing but a studio apartment filled with mementos and a cat to keep her company, Suzette falls into that area of wistful nostalgia that is usually termed "mid-life crisis" and, inspired by a photograph she finds, sets off for Phoenix. There she hopes to find ol' party buddy Vinnie, to stoke the dwindling fires of her life.

Vinnie, though, is now Lavinia (Susan Sarandon), a proper upper-middle class housewife with a lawyer husband Raymond (Robin Thomas) and two teen kidlets (Erika Christensen and Eva Amurri), all of whom would be shocked, shocked I say, if they were to find about about mom's non-beige past. Needless to say, Vinnie wants little to do with the friend she hasn't heard hide nor hair of in twenty years, which leaves Suzette to hang out in a local hotel with a neurotic writer named Harry (Geoffrey Rush), who has come to Phoenix to shoot his father.

Can Suzette revive Vinnie's rock 'n' roll spirit? Can she save Harry's father from certain doom and, in the process, revive Harry's failing career?Will she learn that rock 'n' roll-ing all night doesn't necessarily mean a party every day? There's a lot of meat to be gnawed on here and writer Bob Dolman just nibbles at every point. He directs a genial story, with no huge ups and downs in the characters we meet. Yes, everyone goes through their changes but, so what? For a pair of hard core rockers, there is little to indicate their former profession, excepting one very funny (unintentional?) nod towards a legendary collection of Polaroid pictures kept by a certain member of Kiss (Gene Simmons, never mentioned). More of that would have upped the rock 'n' roll ante and, given how some of the legendary bands these babes nailed are still relevant, would have given Dolman more fodder to work with in developing the kidlet reactions to mom's past.

The Banger Sisters falls squarely in the middle of those films that can work on the big screen or small, and the rating reflects that. Most of the fireworks come from the performance of Sarandon's real-llife daughter Eva Amurri, as the younger daughter whose life is in a constant state of crash and burn.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Banger Sisters, he would have paid . . .

$5.50

dateflick for grownups, who may be more inclined to rent.

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