Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Ready to Wear (Pret-A-Porter)

Ready to Wear (Pret-A-Porter)
Kim Basinger, Linda Hunt, Cher, Julia Roberts, Tim Robbins, Sophia Loren and Lyle Lovett

Rated: R for nudity
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: December 23, 1994 Released by: Miramax

With a far less serious subject natter, director Robert Altman's new film reminds me of Nashville. It has a large well known cast playing characters who exist but do not live except in their silly unimportant circle.

I remember watching the numerous blond TV anchor women in red dresses at the 1988 Democratic National Convention ring the balcony reporting on trivial matters because everyone knew who was going to be nominated. Kim Basinger, who plays Kitty Potter, a blond anchor woman in a red dress, is the catalyst for the shallow characters. She is limited and uses language and phrases no reasonable reporter would use. She refers to Linda Hunt (Kindergarten Cop) the editor of "Elle" fashion magazine as the "Lilliputian" editor. She also tells a designer, "You've had a lock on the look of the 90s for decades." Her shallowness is only palled by the repulsive atmosphere of the Paris fashion show.

Altman does not have the good sense to leave before his welcome has worn out. The film drags through limitless fashion shows and begins to have the look of a documentary or "Style" with Elsa Klench from CNN. The cast is packed with 31 stars getting billing, and various designers like Sonia Rykiel and Gianfranco Ferrer make appearances. Cher does a walk through talking about fashion, what else! The story between Julia Roberts and Tim Robbins is totally unnecessary. A little cutting would have helped move the plot.

As the Paris fashion show is about to begin the head of the fashion council is found dead in his limousine. He has choked on a ham sandwich but the police think it's murder. His wife, Sophia Loren, doesn't care but his lover who directs his fashion company is hurt by the loss and the action of his son to sell the name of the house to a Texan, Lyle Lovett, who uses the logo of the company on cowboy boots. Her protest in the final scene is classic and will be what is talked about by anyone who sees the film. It is the final insult to the triviality of the industry and revenge for the diminishing of the once proud Paris fashion house.

This film is not for everyone, but despite limitations it's worth the trip to the Paris fashion world to watch Altman laugh at the phonies and fakers in the industry.

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Ready to Wear (Pret-A-Porter)  B                        B 

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