"Leftover Hippies in Overdrive"
What You Need To Know:
THE BANGER SISTERS begins with half-drunk Suzette (Goldie Hawn) being fired from her job as a bartender at a sleazy bar. Suzette is an aging self-proclaimed rock-n-roll “groupie” whose claim to fame is having slept with and photographed the genitalia of dozens of stoned rock stars. As a youth, she and her friend Vinnie (Susan Sarandon) were dubbed “The Banger Sisters” by one rocker because of their sexual escapades.
Penniless and dejected, Suzette goes to visit Vinnie, but ends up driving a neurotic writer, Harry, across the country. Harry says he wants to kill his father, who has cursed him, so Suzette decides to help free him through the gift of her casual sex. Her next task is to preach her hippie values to her uptight friend, Vinnie, and her uptight daughters, freeing them back into the world of promiscuity, as well.
THE BANGER SISTERS is a sad portrayal of hopeless, lost people with no moral compass, living on the same old lies of their miserable youth. Though parts of the story are funny and entertaining, the movie portrays as “cute” that which has ripped apart marriages and caused unfathomable scars and heartache to families.
(HHH, Ro, C, LLL, V, SS, A, D, M) Humanist worldview with protagonist espousing life to be “real” with chaos, promiscuity, dancing at bars, and alcohol being perfectly good ways to achieve ‘realness’ or authenticity; secondary romantic worldview with emotion-based decision-making and one Christian theme which focuses on the necessity of forgiveness; excessive language including at least 20 obscenities and 10 profanities; mild violence with car hitting pedestrian and gun fired into the air; fornication, allusions to sex and sex is often used as plot device; no nudity; alcohol; smoking and marijuana use; and, having fun is depicted as being high or having sex out of wedlock.
THE BANGER SISTERS begins with half-drunk Suzette (Goldie Hawn) being fired from her job as a bartender at a sleazy rock-n-roll bar. Suzette is an aging self-proclaimed rock-n-roll “groupie” whose claim to fame is having slept with and photographed the genitalia of dozens of stoned rock stars. As youth, she and her friend Vinnie (Susan Sarandon) were dubbed “The Banger Sisters” by one rocker because of their overly zealous activities.
Penniless and dejected, Suzette has the bright idea to drive form L.A. to Phoenix, Arizona to visit her dear friend Vinnie, whom she hasn’t seen for nearly twenty years, and borrow some money. Along the way, she runs out of gas and money at a filling station that serves as a stop for a bus line. There, she solicits money from the group, and one neurotic “clean freak” man Harry (Geoffrey Rush), who also wants to go to Phoenix, tells her he will buy her a tank of gas if she will drive him there, thus freeing him from the nasty bus where two flies copulated on his hand. (Remember, everything in this film revolves around sex somehow!)
So, the “free spirit” girl is with the “neurotic” man who reveals that he’s a washed up screenwriter, and his purpose for going to Phoenix is to kill his father who “cursed him.” You guessed it, she “sets him free” by fornicating with him, and shacks up with him in his hotel room while she works on the stuck-up, up-tight, wealthy Vinnie and her daughters.
Since it seems that a “perfect life,” (or a moral compass) is despised by these types of filmmakers in Hollywood, the viewer is subjected to the standard “nothing is really good under the surface” preaching that occurs too often in movies. Coincidently, Erika Christensen, playing Hannah, reprises the exact role she played in Steven Soderburg’s TRAFFIC, as the too-perfect teenager who takes drugs and sleeps with her boyfriend behind her parents’ backs.
Of course, anyone can see where this is going. Suzette, though terribly flawed, foul mouthed and promiscuous, sheds new light on Vinnie and her “false self”, breaking the facade, revealing to her husband and daughters the wild person hidden in their perfect mother that they never know existed.
Suzette also, by having sex with Harry, inspires him to write, and saves him from killing himself, which was his way of punishing his deceased father. Everything is happy in the end as Suzette returns to L.A. with her new lover, the inspired writer and the uncertain, yet somehow fun future that may exist.
THE BANGER SISTERS is a movie likely made by hopeless, lost people about hopeless lost people. Though cute and poignant at times, it really hard to identify with the aging groupie that Goldie Hawn plays. Sarandon’s character is a stereotype of the Country Club set and is mildly funny, but mostly pathetic. Almost nobody in this movie does the right thing or takes the right action. The husband and the Father figure is seen to be slightly overbearing and square, but then sees the light by accepting his wife’s new “image” and her bizarre friend. There is an undertone of “Thelma and Louise” that runs throughout the film, though it is difficult to put a finger on it. The ONE good thing that Suzette does is encourage Harry to forgive his father for past.
Overall, this is a movie to be avoided. There is almost nothing redeeming about the movie or the characters that makes one want to emulate them. The movie portrays as “cute” that which has ripped apart marriages and caused unfathomable scars and heartache to families.