Waiting to Exhale
Time Out saysAs Hollywood genres go, the black women's film is a non-entity, so any effort should be welcomed. It's New Year's Eve in Phoenix, Arizona, and Savannah (Houston) arrives in town on the look out for a good man. Fat chance: simultaneously, Bernardine (Bassett) is dumped by her husband for his white secretary; Gloria (Devine) discovers the reason she can't persuade her ex-husband back into the sack is that he's gay; and Robin (Rochon) is finding her rotund lover's sexual technique spectacularly uninvolving. The odd honky temptress apart, race isn't an issue here. Trysts with married men, widowers, widowers-to-be and crackheads are interspersed with the four friends getting together for some quality bitching therapy about the men in their lives. This is about girls-together solidarity, as the audience I was in loudly demonstrated. For every crowd-pleasing set-piece, there's the shambolic structure, uncomfortable shifts of tone, over-glossed visuals, and the music: rightly not trusting his scenes to stand alone, Whitaker wallpapers his film with unconscionably bland slush-pop. Shallow, semi-coherent, overlong, but a likely hit.