Director Bob Dolman’s first film after a career of screenwriting (including “Willow” and “Far and Away”), “The Banger Sisters” is the story of the reconciliation of two friends who were once famous rock groupies. Goldie Hawn stars as Suzette and Susan Sarandon as Livinia, or “Vinnie.” We come to find that when the two friends parted ways long ago, Suzette decided to remain the same person, while Vinnie branched off to form a new life for herself and locked the past way.
The story picks up when Suzette is fired from her job as a bartender at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Hollywood. In an attempt to get some money she decides to go to Phoenix where her old friend now lives. Busty, blonde and looking like Penny Lane (her daughter Kate Hudson) from “Almost Famous” – flash 20 years later – Suzette soon finds herself stranded on the highway en route. Enter Harry Plumber (Geoffrey Rush, “Lantana”), Suzette’s savior who will later get repaid for his good deed.
The two chat it up and we find that Harry is a failed writer who has chosen to go home to Phoenix to kill his father believing his dad put a curse on him when he was a child (I know, stay with me here). Harry tries to tell Suzette that her idea to ask her friend for money is a bad idea, but Suzette will hear nothing of it. She attempts to visit Vinnie, but turns back once she sees from afar the life Vinnie has built for herself. All hope is lost until Suzette encounters Vinnie’s daughter, Hannah (Erika Christensen), in her hotel when Hannah has taken too much LSD at her prom.
Suzette now has an “in” and takes the girl home where she is greeted rather harshly by her “best friend.” Suzette leaves, but Vinnie comes back to apologize. Moving from arguing to talking about what to do about Hannah having sex in the family pool, Suzette soon finds herself invited for dinner.
The turning point of the film is during dinner when Vinnie snaps back into her old self in one of the worst epiphany scenes ever – one second she’s fine, the next: “Oh, I know who I truly am!”
What follows is the two friends going out to a club and reliving the past. Seeing middle-aged Sarandon dance made this reviewer re-live the nightmare of seeing Michael Douglas “get jiggy wit it” in “Basic Instinct.” Yikes. What tops this is when the two go back to Vinnie’s home to look at their “Rock Cock” collection. Enough said.
The major flaws with this film are its pacing and its audience appeal. The film is slow and too much time is spent on meaningless conversations. Only one flashback is used and it doesn’t even include the two “sisters.” In addition, one must ask: “Who is the audience for this film?” While the humor can be had by all, the issues dealt with seem to be aimed at an older age bracket. This is not to say the film is out of reach for younger audiences, but a generation gap does exist.
Goldie Hawn is great in this film and still as sexy as she was in “Overboard.” Sarandon seems to have fun with the role – probably reliving her “Thelma and Louise” days. The last thing confirmed in this film is the fact that Erika Christensen cannot act. Just like her role in “Traffic” she plays the good girl who is secretly bad, and while typecasting can partially be blamed, Christensen never overcomes her stale role with a quality performance.
“Banger Sisters” is all tired plotlines and characters; in the end product is just an aching headache.