review for The Banger Sisters on AllMovie

The Banger Sisters (2002)
by Brian J. Dillard review

After the plastic-surgery hilarity of Death Becomes Her and the prominent collagen jokes in The First Wives Club, it seems like Goldie Hawn would want to draw less attention to her lips. Nevertheless, they're all over The Banger Sisters. As Suzette, an aging rock chick out to reconnect with a former fellow groupie, the actress constantly applies glistening coats of girlish gloss to her smile. The effect is almost as amusing and unsettling as watching the matronly Susan Sarandon pour herself into animal-print spandex during the film's fairy-tale climax. It's this ability to highlight the absurdities and indignities of aging that allows The Banger Sisters to overcome its frictionless script and say a thing or two while it's delivering its easy, bawdy laughs. Time may not be kind to the face or the body, but it rarely leaves one's sense of selfhood intact, either, and it's this deeper sense of change and loss that the film hammers home. Beyond an unbelievably happy ending, writer/director Bob Dolman doesn't succeed in bringing much resolution to the thorny issues he raises. But in an industry that regularly turns older actresses into campy grotesques (see everyone from Bette Davis to Faye Dunaway), it's refreshing to see a major Hollywood film that pauses to think about the real issues at the heart of growing older. Geoffrey Rush has lots of fun as Suzette's obsessive-compulsive beau, while Eva Amurri's precocious performance suggests that she could corner the market on Liza Minnelli-style ingenues if Tori Spelling tires of them. Ultimately, such spot-on casting and that hint of something deeper excuse The Banger Sisters for its feel-good formula.