The wild, wild, West. Modern day Americans have no clue really just how wild the West really was. The HBO western drama Deadwood gives us a glimpse of the lawlessness and pernicious nature of the small towns of the American West. Not that the subject of this review, Bad Girls is a beacon of enlightment on the subject, but at least the principles are easy on the eye(s). And its lucky for me that the movie features two of my favorite actresses: Madeline Stowe and Drew Barrymore.
Bad Girls centers on the exploits of four, well ladies of the night who know how to shoot: Southern Belle Eileen portrayed by Andie Macdowell (Multiplicity, Reaching Normal, Beauty Shop); widower Anita portrayed by Mary Stuart Masterson (Benny and Joon, The Postman, Fried Green Tomatoes); precocious Lilly portrayed by free-spirit Drew Barrymore (Doppelganger, Boys on The Side, Ever After) and; the headmistress Cody portrayed by Madeline Stowe ( Twelve Monkeys, Imposter, We Were Soldiers).
Other principle characters include William portrayed by James LeGros (Ally McBeal), a Texas rancher who plays host to the girls while they hide from two detectives from the infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency; Josh, portrayed by a very young Dermot Mulroney, who is just a little bit shady with his own scores to settle; Kid Jarrett portrayed by James Russo, a despicable bad guy and ex-lover of Cody and; Frank (Kids father) portrayed by Robert Loggia.
Directed by Jonathan Kaplan (Reform School Girls, ER), Bad Girls opens with the foursome working a salon in the small town of Echo City, Colorado in the then Colorado territory. Anita is holding a party with an influential, prominent local citizenthe Colonialwho demands a birthday kiss. But she has promised her dead husband she won't kiss any of her customers. The Colonial gets too rough, and Cody shoots the bugger and kills him. The town of course wants to hang her but she is rescued just in the nick of time.
Sitting around the campfire that night cooking rattlesnake for dinner, they discover that Anita has a Homesteader's Claim for some land in Oregon, and Cody has $12,000 and change saved up; money she's been sending to a bank in Texas. So off to Texas they ride to get the money, but the Colonials wife has hired Pinkerton detectives to track Cody and the girls. Just as Cody is withdrawing her money Kid decides to rob the bank.
This sets off a series of rather predictable events that encompass just about every known Western movie cliché one can conger up: lots of dead bodies, bank robberies, shootouts, horse chases, dynamite explosions, a train robbery, a runaway buggy, and the big finish with the bad guys.
None of this is particularly new, there is no new ground broken here; in fact the movie is very predictable, but fun to watch nonetheless. Nor is there any new acting ground broke; in fact, none of the actresses stray far from type; Stowe offers a lot of smoldering looks, Masterson looks frightened and meek, MacDowell is superficially sophisticated and flighty, and Barrymore is Barrymore, cute and adorable when she is not sneering.
In the end, Bad Girls was a pretty pointless movie, with little to say that has not already been said. But again it was fun to watch on a Sunday afternoon when the rain is falling is unrelenting sheets, and the airways are filled with Golf!
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
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