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by Willie Waffle

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A Good Woman

This is one of those movies critics typically go gaga over, but don't count me among the group. It's OK, but nothing amazing.

Set in 1930 and based on an Oscar Wilde story, Helen Hunt stars as Mrs. Erlynne - an aging harlot who lives off the generosity of men, who are often married to other women. After being run out of New York, Mrs. Erlynne sets off to the Italian coast for the summer with her eyes and pocketbook targeting a young newlywed socialite, Robert Windemere (Mark Umbers). Soon, a group of high society busybodies are all buzzing about Mrs. Erlynne and Robert, while Meg Windemere (Scarlett Johansson) is left to wonder about her husband and the intensions of his playboy pal, Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore).

Will Mrs. Erlynne get what she wants?

A Good Woman is not a horrible movie, but feels like the kind of film you end up watching because it's on cable and you are trapped at home during a blizzard or rainstorm. Writer Howard Himelstein gives us the needed twists and turns to keep the audience wondering where the story may be going next, while director Mike Barker is very good at never tipping his hand and giving away any information before its time. However, what should be the movie's biggest asset turns out to be a liability.

Hunt isn't believable enough or entertaining enough as Mrs. Erlynne. Normally, I love Hunt and consider her one of the best actresses around (hopefully such a disclaimer will keep her publicist hounds off my back), but she is too dry, too boring and too straight for A Good Woman. AS IF she could ever steal a guy away from Scarlett Johansson, but her performance in the movie doesn't make us believe it is even remotely possible. While watching A Good Woman, the audience is left to wonder what is so captivating about such a bland, emotionless and charmless character. Hunt needs to be flirty and vivacious to make the audience understand why men would jeopardize their marriages to spend time with her.

Johansson, Tom Wilkinson, Moore and others in the ensemble cast all do an admirable job with their roles, but none of them has a part big enough to save the film. A Good Woman has some funny moments, and enough of a plot to keep you interested, but never goes from mildly interesting to captivating.

2 Waffle (Out Of 4)

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