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 Another ensemble piece by entertainment veteran Dart (Beaches, 1985, etc.), combining armed chases with tender embraces and bah- dum-bah humor with cinematic sensibility. Four nearing-50 friends try to age gracefully in the Hollywood Hills, supporting one another in regular Girls' Nights--an opportunity to sit in the Jacuzzi and kvetch with pals. They've come a long way since college (where they met), but every day is still a struggle for women of a certain age. Jan O'Malley is a single mother/soap opera star worrying that her contract won't be renewed, considering plastic surgery, and making time for her adopted son. When a down-on-her-luck college crony, Betty Norell (who was not part of the gang), locates Jan and begs for a job, the two get into an altercation, and crazy Betty shoots Jan. This happens on a Girls' Night, so Jan's pals head to the hospital rather than the hot tub. By her bedside, they reminisce, tell stories, and sort through man, child, and career troubles. Marly Bennet, the white-haired, New Age-y, ex-TV star, relates scenes from her troubled marriage to Billy Mann, late-night TV megacomic and egomaniac. Should she dump him? Rose Schiffman knows what spending time at Mercy Hospital is: Her first husband died of cancer there, and her current spouse is a doctor who supports her floundering screenwriting career. Should she sell out to the establishment and write commercial stuff? Ellen Bass, stressed-out vice president of feature films at Hemisphere Studios, is sick of pandering to the old white boy establishment that mocks her. Should she quit? As always in Dart's books, when the girls are not delivering one-line zingers about Hollywood malaise, they are holding one another compassionately and weeping their way to resolution. The author expertly pushes buttons to activate sentimental tears and shtick-responsive laughs. Like an amiable sitcom, complete with laugh track and schlocky ending.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-316-17334-7
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1994


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