If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you happen to be a
middle-aged British mum who doesn’t exactly still have
everything, flaunt it even more.

Janna Hutz
Have you ever seen a grown woman naked? Eww. (Courtesy of Touchstone)

This brave premise is at the heart of “Calendar
Girls,” a light-hearted look at 12 women who, in their fight
to fundraiser, conveniently find the time to rekindle friendships,
unearth strength and beauty within and drop their clothes for a
pin-up calendar.

When Annie’s (Julie Walters, “Billy Elliot”)
husband passes away, she and her fun-loving best friend Chris
(Helen Mirren) set out to raise money for a hospital sofa in his
honor. Logically they decide that the only possible way to raise
enough money for a love seat is to pose for a nude calendar.

What keeps this insane story from dissolving in its own
ridiculousness is the fact that it is true. In 1999, 12 spunky
women from Yorkshire made their own calendar, and six of those real
women actually appear in the film.

Despite a good-heart and healthy sense of humor,
“Girls” starts slow and forgets to accelerate. The
meandering look at village life picks up slightly when its gaze
lands on either the radiant Mirren or the sympathetic Walters, but
these flashes of life are not quite enough to sustain a suitable

A well-worn story track and bends in the plot are visible miles
away and certainly do not help the cause. When the calendars
surprisingly catch on, the women are launched into celebrity status
overnight. Inevitably jealousies arise, and a lesson about the
price of fame and across-the-board soul-searching expectedly ensue
amid an emotional musical montage.

If the very idea of a dozen nude geriatrics causes your blood to
curdle, don’t worry — the photo shoots themselves are
done respectfully and with appropriate humor. It’s the
camera’s departure from the cheery faces of the heroines and the
story’s digression from the inspirational tale of these brave
women that ultimately hurts the film.

Rating: 2.5 stars.

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