Suzette (Goldie Hawn) is still working at the Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset Strip, some 20 years after she and best gal pal Lavinia (Susan Sarandon) began backlighting and taking pictures of celebrity cock. When Suzette loses her job, she dusts off the keepsake curio by her bed and heads down memory lane. Now that Lavinia has gone the way of the frigid, conservative housewife, Suzette has to work overtime to find her friend’s lost mojo. The Banger Sisters is a graceless train wreck for a good 30 minutes; as a constipated, obsessive compulsive, a thoroughly unwatchable Geoffrey Rush bears the brunt of a subplot that pits his suicidal Harry against Suzette’s free spirit. Anyone my age who’s ever wondered what it would be like to have Hawn or Sarandon as a mother will get a kick out of their joint scenes. The sense of nostalgia The Banger Sisters evokes has as much to do with Suzette and Lavinia’s groupie days as it does with Hawn and Sarandon’s real-life celebrity; in the ‘70s, both actresses helped politicize sex with “Laugh In” and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. At its best, the film shames us for our refusal to commit to our pasts though first time director Bob Dolman (writer of Willow and Far and Away) suggests its easy to lose ourselves to an apolitical, commercialized present. For Suzette and Vinny, yesterday’s “War is Over?” peace sign is today’s “Got Milk?” advertisement. When Vinny recalls her trip to the cemetery where Jim Morrison is buried, there is an unspoken understanding that she buried her past along with the Lizard King at the Père Lachaise. Everyone’s shit hits the fan on cue and the film never really recovers from the rote sitcom wind-down, Hawn’s lively spirit and nasty potty mouth makes it all easier to swallow.
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