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The New Women

Toying with the paranoid sci-fi genre of the 1950s, "The New Women" takes a wonderful premise and does all it can to undermine it. Mary Woronov heads a notable cast of pros in this distinctly amateurish thriller about what happens when a freak thunderstorm puts the Earth's male population to sleep, leaving women to fend for themselves.

Cast:
With: Mary Woronov, Jaime Tolbert, Sandra Kinder, Jane Ray, Roma Maffia, Jenny Shimizu, Cheryl Dunye, Amy Hill, Tracy Reiner, Mary Scheer, Michael White, Matt North.

Toying with, rather than investigating, the paranoid sci-fi genre of the 1950s, “The New Women” takes a wonderful premise and does all it can to undermine it. Mary Woronov, the Cal Ripken Jr. of indie stars, heads a notable cast of pros in this distinctly amateurish thriller about what happens when a freak thunderstorm puts the Earth’s male population to sleep, leaving women to fend for themselves. Placed in the hands of a helmer with the right instincts for this paradoxical non-apocalypse apocalypse, this could have been a midnight bill classic; helmer Todd Hughes, alas, ensures that pic will never escape the festival ghetto.

Lisa (Woronov) is the put-upon wife of cheating husband-cop Jay (Michael White), while sis Janet (Jaime Tolbert) has a successful grocery home delivery business in their desert community. Soon after Lisa catches Jay fooling around, a storm hits, mysteriously putting the guys into a slumber that eventually proves fatal and forcing the gals to organize. Though fable is meant to spoof notions of women banding together for peace, the survivors’ odyssey is a movie road map of missed black-comedy opportunities.

The New Women

Production: An Interzone presentation. Produced by Edward Nachtrieb, John Schliesser. Co-producers, P. David Ebersole, Kim Pesenti. Directed by Todd Hughes. Screenplay, P. David Ebersole, Hughes.

Crew: Camera (black-and-white video), Larra Anderson; editor, Daniel Gabbe; music, Cary Berger; production designer, Anna Noelle Rockwell; art director, Clint Catalyst; costume designer, Christie Wittenborn. Reviewed on videotape, L.A., July 22, 2001. (In Outfest.) Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Mary Woronov, Jaime Tolbert, Sandra Kinder, Jane Ray, Roma Maffia, Jenny Shimizu, Cheryl Dunye, Amy Hill, Tracy Reiner, Mary Scheer, Michael White, Matt North.

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