Cinematic adaptations of novels are under no obligation to remain rigorously faithful to the original, but even with that in mind, this version of Fay Weldon's The Life and Loves of a She-Devil is misjudged. The story is relocated across the Atlantic, its tone altered to leave audiences on an upbeat note. Fat, frumpy housewife Ruth (Barr) is deserted by her husband (Begley), who goes to live with glamorous romantic novelist Mary Fisher (Streep) in her high tower by the sea. With demonic conviction, Ruth sets about depriving the lovers of their new-found happiness. She makes a list of her husband's assets - Home, Family, Career and Freedom - and destroys each in turn. Thus circumscribed, the film plods to its conclusion. Streep's tentative foray into comedy is deliberately mannered, but the breathy delivery and constant fluttering of hands are nevertheless excessive. And in her film debut, Barr just isn't imposing enough to inspire notions of devilish vengeance. The film-makers have opted for frothy satire, but as comedies go this is lamentably short on laughs.