From the Chicago Reader (December 8, 1989). Reseeing this about a quarter of a century later, on an Olive Films Blu-Ray, I was struck by how much it qualifies as Tashlinesque — stylistically if not thematically, insofar as you can’t find real villains (or very much malice) in Frank Tashlin’s movies, whereas the villains here, even if they’re ultimately redeemed, satisfy every possible requirement in a feminist and working-class revenge fantasy. Otherwise, the cartoon characters, the loud and vulgar colors, and the overall cheerfulness are very Tashlin-like. [P.S. You can animate the second still here by hitting it with your cursor.] — J.R.
Susan Seidelman’s funniest film since Desperately Seeking Susan is a feminist revenge comedy, adapted from Fay Weldon’s novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Barry Strugatz and Mark R. Burns, and delivered as a broad farce starring Roseanne Barr as an abused housewife and Meryl Streep as the wealthy and famous romantic novelist her husband (Ed Begley Jr.) leaves her for. Considering the potential bitterness of the story line, the movie is surprisingly upbeat, high-spirited, and even inspirational, with lots to say about the empowerment of exploited women and the neglect of old people in this culture without ever being unduly preachy about it. Streep is especially good at parodying media stereotypes of high-class femininity. With Sylvia Miles and Linda Hunt. (Webster Place, Hillside Square, Hyde Park, Old Orchard, Yorktown, Commons, Grove, Golf Glen, Chestnut Station, Bricktown Square, Ford City East)