Saturday, 8.30pm, Universal You know the baby boomers are ageing when a road trip movie is about a woman and two female friends driving across the country to scatter her husband’s ashes. And you know the boomers are not going to give up anything when this film makes widowed second wife Arvilla (Jessica Lange) the heroine and stepdaughter Francine (Christine Baranski) the villain. (Baranski does a fine line in complete cow.)This is a movie that ticks all the boxes for women coping, or wondering how they will, with losing a husband and the security he provided. But Arvilla does, taking two friends off in her husband’s antique Bonneville convertible and gradually realising she can manage. Along the way they meet two men, one young, one old, one searching for his father and one mourning a lost wife. Arvilla learns from them, they from her. The three friends fight and make up, rediscovering why they love each other. Kathy Bates is fun as the exuberant Mormon Margene and Joan Allen is OK as scaredy-cat Carol, the one with a husband and the weakest and unhappiest of the trio, until she learns to make her own choices. For anybody other than the target audience this is a sweet little film that stops short of saccharine. But it should be a joy for women who identify with Arvilla, or who worry what they will do when it’s time to scatter hubbie to the winds.
Look at the US original but it works better for an Australian audience. For a start the designers are less appalling as people, pragmatic, realistic and, with the exception of the designated bad boy, just nicer than their counterparts on the American version. And typically Australian, a fair swag of them are migrants. How their work rates as fashion I have no clue, except there are clothes I would look at admiringly in the street. There is a sense these designers are used to working with tight budgets and small markets and lack the self-indulgent luxury that shapes the US version of the series. As one of them says in episode one, ‘‘ It’s not fashion until it sells.’’ Worth watching by anybody interested in design and character — watch what happens to a designer who gets a ticking off and cops it sweet. And host Megan Gale looks fantastic. imaging how he would respond if these events happened to him. It doesn’t matter much whichever it is. He presents as a completely credible, thoroughly decent man dealing with whatever life bowls up. While he knows a straight bat is the best defence against weirdness he just can’t resist the flashy shots he never quite pulls off. A stand-out bite into a real slice of life.