If you’re over 35, listen up. If you’re younger, you can listen if you want to but you might not be interested. Today I want to talk about the 1995 movie, Boys on the Side starring Whoopie Goldberg, Mary-Louise Parker and Drew Barrymore.
Yes, 1995 makes this an old movie and I typically only review newer stuff. Quite frankly, this is new to me as I hadn’t seen it before a couple of weeks ago. It was recommended during a discussion about “chick flicks” in general.
Is it a chick flick? I’d have to say, yes it is; especially given the title. Though it’s a truly great movie, most men would not find it the least bit interesting at best and at worst, would pan it as pure male bashing – which really isn’t it’s focus – but it seems to be what most of the reviews by men I’ve read since I’ve seen it have said. Yes, to answer the underlying question you might have, I read other reviews to get a feel for things I might have missed.
Whoopie Goldberg plays an out of work, New York lounge singer, Jane, in this one and, yes, we do get to hear her sing again here as in her previous “Sister Act” movies. She’s cast as a lesbian in this movie. That becomes important when she decides she wants to start over somewhere new and answers an ad for a companion to drive to Los Angeles. She meets up with the uptight, anal, real estate agent Robin (Mary-Louis Parker) who, though she agrees to undertake the trip with Jane, is aghast that she’s a lesbian. Robin has her own skeleton in the closet though as she’s a woman suffering from AIDS (a 90s attempt at letting the world see the disease wasn’t just a concern for gay men, to be sure).
Once underway, Jane insists they stop in Pittsburgh, PA to see her friend, Holly (Drew Barrymore). A turn of events that involves Holly’s abusive, drug dealing boyfriend lands her in the van with Jane and Robin. Her big secret? She’s pregnant. From this initial scenario we get a road trip and an eventual reaching of the goal destination while along the way a strong bond of friendship is forged between the three women.
Now just by giving you a bit of background, I’ve given up some key points in the plot, I know, but don’t not see this thinking you know how it’s all going to turn out. Trust me, you’ll be missing a lot. First of all, the performance by each of these three women is amazing. Second, they have a great supporting cast which includes a very young Matthew McConaughey. Next, if your a fan of 80s-90s lesbian icon music and female rockers in general from the era, you can’t go wrong here. The movie has a great soundtrack that includes the likes of Melissa Etheridge, the Indigo Girls (who actually have a cameo role), Sheryl Crow and more. Finally, you get a plot with plenty of twists full of both the drama you would expect and also quite a bit of comedy (and not just from Goldberg as you might suspect).
Give this “old movie” a shot. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.