If her point is that women can do equally as witless, nasty, rude and disgusting things as men, then she fails to prove her point. Her characters doesn’t get nearly low enough for that.
There is, in fact, some wit to her film and character nastiness is mostly a coverup for obvious insecurities. Even the barf scenes are handled somewhat delicately.
Which is not to say this is Noel Coward.
But actress-writer Kellie Overbey developed the script from her own play “Girl Talk” so its dialogue and scenes have been previously staged, rethought and rewritten. Consequently there exists the kind of logic and coherence that most bro-mances sorely lack.
Then there’s Anne Heche.
She has many gifts as an actress but surely comedy is first among them. She is so marvelous as a neurotic, chain-smoking, promiscuous, cynical bitch known as Dee Dee that you can imagine a whole cable comedy show built around her character.
She can get laughs merely lighting a cigarette. Or in one of those oh-oh moments when she spots a man across a coffee house and her face freezes. You don’t even need to know what the oh-oh is about.
But “TWSS” is a very talky piece, a play turned into a movie, remember. So the actresses are asked to talk the thing to death.
Truth be told, the film is full of incidents but not much happens on this single journey of a long day into a longer night.
Supposedly, Bebe is having a hot date that evening and apparently needs for her BGG, Dee Dee, to share every moment with her starting in the morning.
Bebe is played by Marcia DeBonis, who also played the role on stage so hers is a performance almost too well planned out.
Bebe talks a mile a minute yet says very little. She’s somewhat heavy-set and no spring chicken so dates are, you are asked to imagine, few and far between.
Nervousness oozes out of every pore. It doesn’t help that she has a terribly itchy yeast infection.
As she explains how she met this guy and the course of the romance has taken until now, Dee Dee, not to mention the audience, quickly figures out this date ain’t going to happen.
First of all, everything points to his being married. Second, the scheme of the film is to exclude the men with nearly the same rigor as George Cukor’s “The Women” (1939) based on the Clare Boothe Luce play.
Indeed the men in these women’s lives (only fleetingly seen) are reduced to generic types. Just consider their names: Tom, Dick and Harry.
A third female character gets introduced into this friendship early in the movie. She is the controllably sobbing Clementine (Alia Shawkat), who is less a character than a collection of neurotic fixations.
She cries, needs constant sexual stimulation (thus the vibrator in her purse), pukes frequently, goes to the restrooms continuously and wallows in self-pity over her rejection by her longtime boyfriend.
The three work their way toward downtown Manhattan, causing scenes wherever they go from beauty salons and bars to coffee houses and stores. They aren’t really that obnoxious; someone will just remark, a little too loudly, about something that should instead be whispered such as that yeast infection.
The climax (although certainly not the end) of the day’s misadventures is the accidental death of an elderly man that is indirectly caused by Clementine’s vibrator.
How this happens would require a very long explanation and probably constitute a plot spoiler. Since there is so little plot here anyway, let’s not spoil what there is.
Carrie Preston (also an actress but she doesn’t appear here) gets the most out of the meager incidents in the screenplay by Overbey (who does play a role). A poorly engineered third act doesn’t just traffic in improbability, it revels in it.
Throughout the interaction among these three, along with those they encountered in the various establishments they disrupt, are overt lesbian undertones. In the case of characters played by Overbey and Kate Rigg, they are a couple. Many others hint at or outright declare sexual adverturism.
While in itself this is no big deal, when coupled with three women’s perplexing experiences with men in general, the film reminds you of that bumper sticker from a couple decades back: A Woman Needs a Man like a Fish Does a Bicycle.
Opens: October 19, 2012 in theaters and VOD (Phase 4 Films)
Production companies: Daisy 3 Pictures
Cast: Anne Heche, Marcia DeBonis, Alia Shawkat, Kellie Overbey, Kate Rigg, Marylouise Burke Miriam Shor
Director: Carrie Preston
Screenwriter: Kelly Overbey, based on her play
Producers: Joshua Astrachan, Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Mona Panchal, Carrie Preston
Executive producers: Mark Holmes, James Vasquez
Director of photography: William Klayer
Production designer: Bobby Berg
Music: Tim Adams, Mike Viola
Costume designer: Meghan Kasperlik
Editor: Anita Brandt Burgoyne
R rating, 84 minutes