READY TO WEAR ( PRET-A-PORTER )
DIRECTOR: ROBERT ALTMAN
CINEMATOGRAPHY: PIERRE MIGNOT, JEAN LAPINE
MUSIC: MICHEL LEGRANDE
CAST: Anouk Aimee, Kim Basinger, Tery Garr, Lyle Lovitt, Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Lauren Bacall, Julia Roberts, Stephen Rea, Tracy Ullman, Linda Hunt, Lilli Taylor, Forrest Whittaker
WRITTEN BY: Robert Altman
ONE WORD: The clothes, at best.
Robert Altman has become a bit of a satirist, by way of some of his films. The good part is that he could really tear into the subject matter and let us have it. The sad part is, that he can only come up with crap, and try to justify it. READY TO WEAR, is a fun film to watch, if you have nothing better to do, but it is a dreadful bore otherwise.
There may be a story behind this film, but all in all it is nothing but one of those old fashioned star showcases, where what anyone does is meaningless, and in some cases a take on a previous movie or two. while it does have its moments, it is the models that walk off with the real honors by having to put up with the moods and attitudes of many of the designers, whose acts are rather pretentious and full of it. It's hard to believe that any model would be stupid enough to act that crazy when she is getting paid several eons of money for the job in the first place.
The whole film centers around the greatest of all French circus's which is the annual fashion shows, where many a designer has made his name in the international market. And we get a peek at what might be the competitive nature of many buyers who are doing whatever they can to attract contracts which could be very profitable. And the events that take place, as some designers finally get a chance to meet up with old liaisons and catch up on old gossip, and many other bits.
While this film compares to Altman's previous film about Hollywood, it does not offer half the fun that the other film does. The other film made no attempt to get the showcase stars to act in it. In this film, they all have a slight characterization to work with, and they all have fun doing it, but not as much fun as the previous film showed. In this one, the actors are serious, but also look terribly bored. Specially wasted is Sophia Loren (she never was a great actress anyway), and a few of the others. Kim Basinger is not very good as a reporter, although her role seems to be to play a dumb blonde in the first place, and several of the others seem to just be walking through their lines.
Well photographed, and the modeling stuff is very nice to catch, but otherwise this film is not really as good as one would have liked it to be. If one is going to tear an institution down, just rip it apart. But to just slap it in the wrist is a joke. The world of the rich and famous of pretense deserves much more than a slap in the wrist at times, specially when they are just as bored and sick as we are as viewers wanting to spend money to catch this film.
Robert Altman has done better, but this is not one of those pieces of work.
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