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She-Devil

Year: 1989
Production Co: Orion Pictures
Director: Susan Seidelman
Writer: Mark R Burns/Barry Strugatz/Fay Weldon
Cast: Roseanne Barr, Meryl Streep, Ed Begley Jr, Linda Hunt, Sylvia Miles, Sally Jesse Raphael

I don't want to sound too cynical, but there's so little quality in the plot, script or the execution of the movie I can't help but thinking it was put together on the cheap and in a hurry to cash in on the appeal of Roseanne Barr, who was massive at the time thanks to her self-titled show.

Barr is one-note and wooden throughout as betrayed housewife Ruth, her world destroyed when her philandering husband Bob (who the hell thought of an actor as gawky and gangly as Ed Begley Jr to play a dashing romantic lead?) starts an affair with ditzy romance novelist Mary (Meryl Streep).

It could have been such a clearer revenge story, but the scheme Ruth cooks up to get revenge on Bob – including starting an employment agency for downtrodden women – isn't only cockamamie, it's not funny.

There's also an extended aside where she poses as an aged care nurse – ingratiating herself into the life of Mary's no-nonsense mother (Miles) and forming a completely redundant friendship with fellow nurse Hopper (Hunt) – that's not the least bit funny or insightful either.

And all the while Ruth is working off a hokey list to destroy Bob's work, relationship, etc etc. How the plot lurches from one interlude to the next makes little sense – it almost would've been more distinctive as a studio rom-com rewritten to within an inch of its life.

They undoubtedly marketed it for everyday women who saw themselves as Ruth competing for men, resources and jobs with the Marys of the world, but judging by the box office of only $15m worldwide, they failed.

It's all over the place, horribly dated (watch for the giant Batman billboard in Times Square, the jokes fall flat, Barr falls flat and even Streep gives her worst.

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