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The First Wives Club Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 38

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Unfortunately, although there are a few nasty thorns here and there, The First Wives Club is a largely uninspired (and unfunny) comedy that collapses completely in the final fifteen minutes.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    The First Wives Club has a femme casting coup for the ages, and sometimes it only takes the right performers interacting to give sprightly fluff indispensable showmanship. [20 Sep 1996 Pg.01.D]

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    There is undoubtedly a movie to be made about this material -- a different movie.

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  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The First Wives Club has all the conviction a comedy of female vengeance needs. But as soon as the dumb plot takes over, the wit leaks out of the movie like helium from a balloon.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 12+

Frothy divorce-revenge comedy with iffy messages.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that infidelity, mistresses, divorce, and revenge (betrayed spouses vs. ex-husbands) propel the narrative of this film -- though it defies expectations by being a PG comedy instead of something harsher. Sex references are surprisingly coy, and swear words are kept to a minimum. That said, one character's daughter is a lesbian, and this is mentioned loudly and often (to the point of the demure mom cheerfully visiting her child's favorite lesbian bar and getting hit on). The grown children in these broken marriages are either cynical or join in plotting against their fathers. The upper-class NYC milieu slathers on the materialism -- the chic fashion, the cars, the decor.

  • Families can talk about the different personalities of Elise, Brenda, and Annie -- the way they criticize, even insult each other, but overcome their flaws in the process. Of course, "blended" families touched by angry divorce and remarriage might have much different takes on this movie. Does it make light of divorce? What do kids think of the revenge theme here? Author Olivia Goldsmith claimed to be discarded first wife herself, and the movie has a cameo by another one, Ivanna Trump. Can kids name any other famous first wives?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Iffy evolution in the three wronged women in the story; they go from just wanting revenge -- to make their fickle ex-husbands suffer -- to doing something for the greater good of society (opening a women's crisis center) and improving their own health/self-esteem as well. But still they ensure their exes suffer in the process, in perpetuity. On the plus side, they are shown as mutually supportive, even when they clash with one another. Most adult males here are shallow cads; there's just one line (referencing a lesbian relationship) to suggest women can break hearts too. The novel was a little more even-handed.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: One character jumps to her death (offscreen); later there's a dangerous stunt on a window-cleaners' platform that similarly imperils the heroines; it's played for laughs.

  • sex false3

    Sex: No sex or nudity shown, but characters are depicted before/after bedroom interludes. A man fondles his girlfriend's (clothed) breast. One daughter is a young lesbian, and this prompts much talk and eyebrow-raising and a visit to a lesbian bar. Non-explicit allusion to laws prohibiting sex with minors. References to a series of (nonexistent) movies that clearly fall into the "erotic thriller" genre.

  • language false3

    Language: "A--hole"; "s--t" uttered once.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Materialism is a strong component of the plot: hot car models, trendy furnishings, paintings, and objects d'art (with a big-name auction house). And, of course, there's a First Wives Club novel tie-in.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Heavy drinking in a few scenes. It precedes suicide (not shown) and ugly fights. One of the heroines is criticized by another for her liquor intake; she straightaway quits drinking.