If it weren't for her blonde hair and slight height advantage, I'd swear Michelle Pfeiffer in this movie could pass for Tina Fey, as her TV incarnation Liz Lemon, on 30 Rock.
Both Pfeiffer in this film and Fey on her program essentially portray the same characters, neurotic women approaching middle age who are single and who are writers and executive producers for a TV comedy show. Both deal with network suits who continually push them to adhere to corporate and commercial interests, as opposed to their creative and personal ones. This is essentially the feminine version of The TV Set (2007).
Written and directed by Amy Heckerling, the women who brought us Fast Time at Ridgement High (1982) and Clueless (1995), this independent film made its debut in the United States in February, getting a direct-to-DVD release in America only, but it was produced back in 2005. I point that out only because the movie does indeed date itself, but that certainly doesn't detract from this film's whimsical charm.
I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN is as much a Hollywood satire as it is a romantic comedy. It focuses on a female writer and executive producer, named Rosie, played by Michelle Pfeiffer who has given amazing performances in films like Scarface (1983), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence (1993) and even more recently with Hairspray (2007) and Stardust (2007).
Rosie's in her 40s, trying to moisturize her way into 30s, after her ex-husband, Nathan, found a new wife in her 20s. Nathan, played by Jon Lovitz, isn't exactly Tom Cruise. He's about the same height, though very much pudgy. He likes to put on the illusion that he exercises, an illusion that couldn't be farther from the truth. He even requires hair plugs.
Yet, he stings Rosie over her lack of youth and beauty, but she gives it right back to him. She's a tough, strong-minded woman, but there is a vulnerability to her. She is very much beautiful, but in one scene, Rosie makes a comment that she's hurtling toward Cloris Leachman, who won the Oscar for The Last Picture Show (1971). In another scene, Rosie references Anne Bancroft, who also got nominated for the Oscar for The Graduate (1967). From these, you can guess the plot.
Pre-Sex and the City, an older woman, who gets involved with a younger man, never ended up happy. It's with glee that Nathan calls Rosie a Demi Moore. People are still hung up over age gaps. Men have gotten away with it for years. No one makes a stink about Presidential candidate John McCain's wife, Cindy, who is 18 years, his junior. The gap between Rosie and her new boyfriend in this film is far shorter, so what's the problem?
Tracey Ullman plays Mother Nature who continually injects herself into Rosie's life like a bad case of Botox. Mother Nature, however, is probably the highest cynic and most jaded individual when it comes to ranting over the superficiality and vanity on constant display.
"It was working fine," she says, "until one, self-centered generation came along... the baby boomers, and these pampered, post-war pinheads thought that they could just breeze through life, doing whatever the hell they wanted... they grew up becoming obsessed with money and accumulating useless possessions."
Heckerling takes this as her preamble and comes up with some great jokes, excoriating Hollywood's ageism. Heckerling even offers up some great characters that stand in complete opposition to it, besides Mother Nature.
Oscar-nominee Saoirse Ronan plays one of them, Rosie's daughter, Izzy. Izzy is a precocious teen, in love with a boy named Dylan. Izzy at times seems more grown up and mature than her mom who still plays with Barbie's. Izzy instead mocks the Los Angeles, image-driven garbage.
Paul Rudd co-stars as Adam, the so-called Sonny Crawford or Benjamin Braddock of this movie. Adam is a great actor and comedian who auditions for Rosie's show, who actually gets the job by delivering a great monologue on triumphing over getting a wedgie. Adam also rejects the media shallowness, despite the fact he's forced to get a makeover. He's a sweet clown, the next Adam Sandler or Ben Stiller, perhaps.
Five Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for sexual themes and language.
Running Time: 1hr. and 37 mins.