A vitriolic dig at the fashion-magazine industry—what could be better?—with Meryl Streep making an Oscar-nominated meal out of the megalomaniac queen bee modeled on Anna Wintour and Anne Hathaway as the eager young journalist whose naive eyes are opened. You’ll all get the fashion-label in-jokes and trendy digs without worrying about a nearby man scoffing or raising an eyebrow. Based on the bestseller by Lauren Weisberger.
Fed up with looking for love but feeling pressure from her mother to land a husband, the sassy, ditzy heroine of the title (Jennifer Westfeldt) finds instead the bisexual Helen (Heather Juergensen), who’s already convinced that girls can scratch the itch that men can’t seem to reach. Trouble is, how does a nice, straight Jewish girl bring home a woman—especially one who’s not a doctor? Written by the two actresses, the script is fierce, smart, and funny as hell.
Nicole Holofcener’s chick flick depends absolutely and generously on the verve and candor of Catherine Keener and Anne Heche, as lifelong buddies negotiating their own mutating friendship as one faces marriage and the other faces loneliness. The film has the easy rhythm of a three-hour girl talk phone call, and all the actors run like linebackers with their unpredictable and witty (but not too witty) characters, including Liev Schreiber. Keener is particularly radiant and raw in a way that justifies the whole movie—a dozen emotions can register on her face all at once. Watching her come up with something to say in an embarrassing situation is like watching a Japanese table-tennis pro play himself.
It’s a sultry L.A. summer, and successful restaurateur Michelle Pfeiffer faces a daunting decision: cop Kurt Russell or crook Mel Gibson? If they were ice cream, you’d want a scoop of each, and that’s exactly what Pfeiffer opts for—but since Gibson has never been more beautiful before or since, she does eventually settle on him, in a hot tub. The plot won’t override chitchat, noshing, or awed gasps of appreciation. Important: commit first to forgetting everything you’ve learned about Gibson since 2004.
Popular demand alone warrants this revered hit’s inclusion; hordes of women flocked to theaters to see it, and even now, years later, all of them still sigh when it’s mentioned. There may be a certain amount of early summer rosiness involved, but enjoyment of this flick requires that you have acquired the taste for Patrick Swayze’s muscly dance instructor or that you identify somehow with Jennifer Grey’s budding post-teen.