A Good Woman

Those lips, those eyes, those curves. Scarlett Johansson has the right look and pout for period films. And Oscar Wilde's 1892 play Lady Windermere's Fan, rather clumsily updated to 1930s Italy by screenwriter Howard Himelstein, benefits from her lush presence. Woody Allen's Match Point seductress plays Meg Windermere, a New York newlywed vacationing with her husband, Robert (Mark Umbers), on the Italian Riviera. When Robert starts sneaking around with notorious femme fatale Stella Erlynne (Helen Hunt, in a miscasting coup of epic proportions), Meg thinks the worst. If only it were so. In the hands of director Mike Barker (Best Laid Plans), the sex here is all tell, no show. Nanny McPhee has more erotic sizzle. Except for the expert Tom Wilkinson as Tuppy, a wealthy wain of Stella's, the acting ranges from amateurish to atrocious. Hunt's lat delivery is mercilessly cruel to Wilde's delicious epigrams. That sound you you hear is Oscar spinning madly in his grave.

From The Archives Issue 109: May 25, 1972
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