Pic has little of interest to say about the relations between men and women, and the static washroom setting doesn’t help make it more dynamic. The two story strands are stitched together with no dramatic development or overall impact.
Most of the thesps fare quite badly — in large part because they have such weak material to work with. Bracco is the only actor who manages to elicit any sympathy for her character. Malkovich is in particularly bad form, hamming it up big-time, adding a zany comic touch that is out of place. Lensing is uninspired, as are rather insipid pop and opera tracks.
(DRAMA -- CANADIAN-BRITISH)
A Motion Intl. release (in Canada) of a Cine-Roman/Laurem Prods./Transfilm/Smallrain Ltd. production. Produced by Tony Roman, Rene Malo, Claude Leger, Jonathan Vanger. Directed by Gabriella Cristiani. Screenplay, Leila Basen, Andree Pelletier, Genevieve Lefebvre, Natalina Di Leandro, Amanda Roberts, based on an original idea by Tony Roman.
Camera (color), Pierre Mignot; editors, Dominique Fortin, Gabriella Cristiani; music, Simon Carpentier, Jean-Patrick Capdevielle, Richard Tate, Tony Roman; production designer, Perri Gorrara; art director, Pierre Allard; costume designer, Francesca Chamberland. Reviewed at World Film Festival , Montreal (Panorama Canada), Sept. 1, 1999. Running time: 90 MIN.
Roberto ..... John Malkovich
Gemma ..... Lorraine Bracco
Lucia ..... Greta Scacchi
Lauren ..... Veronica Ferres
Julia ..... Molly Parker
Gianco ..... Greg Thomey
With: Nanette Workman, Alan Fawcett, Chris MacCabe, Katie Van Camp, Nathalie Lefebvre, Catherine Friesen, John Glasspoole.
Producer Tony Roman's story gambit is intriguing: glimpsing into the feminine psyche by setting the pic almost entirely in the inner sanctum of a women's washroom. But an impoverished script, wildly uneven acting and erratic direction ensure that "Ladies Room" achieves no insight into the way women think. The pic is about as exciting asstanding in line for the ladies room and will almost certainly face a fast fade in theaters. (It's being launched in Canada in November.) At best, the cast could spark some vid interest.
There are two main stories in "Ladies Room." First involves three theater actresses who are forced to share a bathroom in place of their flooded dressing rooms. Seasoned actress Gemma (Lorraine Bracco) is shocked by the cynicism of her younger colleague Julia (Molly Parker), which leads to a major pre-show argument. Gemma doesn't realize that Julia happens to be having an affair with Gemma's producer-writer boyfriend and is trying to parlay the sex into bigger roles in his productions.
Second tale is set at the opera, where Lauren (Veronica Ferres) is meant to meet her Italian lover, Roberto (John Malkovich). Roberto has told Lauren he's divorced, but the date turns nasty when Roberto's pregnant wife, Lucia (Greta Scacchi), shows up at the theater. Roberto's two-timing comes to light when Lucia bumps into the weeping Lauren in ... the ladies room.