Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1994. Etalon Film, Miramax. Screenplay by Robert Altman, Barbara Shulgasser. Cinematography by Jean Lepine, Pierre Mignot. Produced by Robert Altman. Music by Michel Legrand. Production Design by Stephen Altman. Costume Design by Catherine Leterrier. Film Editing by Suzy Elmiger, Geraldine Peroni. Golden Globe Awards 1994.
There are reasons to not miss this Robert Altman comedy and reasons to completely avoid it. The all-star lineup of international names makes it a must see, but the painfully bad script will turn even the least discerning viewer off. It all takes place in the world of fashion, when Parisian designers are set to launch their brand new 1994 pret-a-porter fall collections, and Altman’s cameras are right there in the middle of it to capture it all (the film was made during the real shows and they are terrific). The huge cast is thrown into various real situations and some brilliant improvisational moments are born; the structure around which it is based, about the murder of a prominent fashion industry figure, means to be light but is just weak. Music selection is a plus, as is the colourful, carnival atmosphere created around the shows, but there’s no substance to it. The best performance comes from Kim Basinger as a ditzy reporter who is flabbergasted by the world of haute couture that surrounds her; most of her scenes are improvised and her sense of timing doesn’t miss a beat (watch her hilarious scene with Cher, the whole thing was unplanned).