Average, predictable comedy-drama that’s redeemed by great performances from its two stars and a sharply written script.
It seems an odd coincidence that, having watched her daughter (Kate Hudson) receive acting plaudits for playing a groupie in Almost Famous, Goldie Hawn should rush into playing one (albeit a much older, EX-groupie) herself. However, that’s exactly what she’s done and writer-director Bob Dolman’s The Banger Sisters is the result.
Long Overdue Road Trip
Goldie plays Suzette, an ageing good-time girl who gets fired from her
bartending job and decides to drive across the States and track down her one-time best friend and fellow groupie ‘Vinnie’ (Susan Sarandon), who she hasn’t seen in 20 years.
On the way she picks up Geoffrey Rush’s neurotic writer (who hasn’t had sex in a decade and intends, he says, to shoot his father) and explains to him the origin of their nickname – Frank Zappa named them the Banger Sisters because between them they shagged practically every major rock star of the 1960s and 70s.
However, when she arrives, instead of ‘Vinnie’, she finds ‘Lavinia’,
married, with two spoiled brat daughters (Erika Christensen and Sarandon’s real-life daughter Eva Amurri) and leading an extremely conservative lifestyle, having successfully kept her past a secret from her family. Will Lavinia reject her old friend? Or will Suzette’s infectious “free spirit” liberate the old ‘Vinnie’? No prizes for guessing…
Predictable Yet Perfectly Performed
Plot-wise, then, it’s predictable enough. What makes it watchable are the performances. Hawn is wonderful, relishing the chance to play a character that’s fairly close – in terms of attitude - to her off-screen persona, but also recognisably flawed and human. Sarandon is equally good – she should definitely do more comedy, if this and her recent guest appearance on TV’s Malcolm In The Middle are anything to go by.
There’s good support too, from Geoffrey Rush (his early scenes with Hawn are among the film’s highlights – particularly when she leans over him purring “See you later…killer…”) but also from the two girls, although Amurri is either an undiscovered acting genius or she really IS a spoilt brat.
Despite the fact that you never doubt for a second where the script is
going, it still delivers plenty of sharp one-liners and there are a couple of genuinely hilarious scenes, such as when Vinnie and Suzette dig out their old polaroid collection, the “rock cocks in a box”.
In short, though there’s nothing particularly new here, it’s a treat to see Hawn and Sarandon spark off each other. It would have been nice if the film had taken a few more risks and perhaps upped the smut quotient a little, but this is still enjoyable, if forgettable popcorn-fodder.