Susan Seidelman’s “The Hot Flashes” is a post-"Bridesmaids” case of raunch lite, a change-of-life comedy that could have used a change of scripts.
We’re dropped into a suburban (and caricature-ridden) Texas town about to lose its mobile mammogram clinic to bankruptcy. It spurs menopausal go-getter wife/mom Beth (Brooke Shields) to corral a few of her peers — Wanda Sykes’ uptight mayoral candidate, Camryn Manheim’s pot-smoking biker chick, Virginia Madsen’s chain-smoking divorcee and Daryl Hannah’s closeted cowgirl — to play some charity basketball games against the high school girls’ team.
What could have been an empowering and amusing riff on the typically male underdog genre is mostly charmless, however, thanks to screenwriter Brad Hennig’s superficially bitchy dialogue and a story line involving Shields’ two-timing husband (Eric Roberts) that feels like a repeatedly missed free throw. And nothing can save the ladies-who-lurch awkwardness of the basketball scenes, which generate the wrong kind of laughter.
But when Seidelman relies on the stars’ camaraderie — sassy suspicion that morphs into an us-against-them fighting spirit — there’s an unforced breeziness, only occasionally marred by a miscast Hannah, who appears to be starring in her own weird indie, and Shields’ top-billing earnestness.
“The Hot Flashes”
Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Rating: Rated R for some sexual content and drug use
Playing at: Laemmle Music Hall