Directed by Hugh Wilson

Starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Maggie Smith, Dan Hedaya, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elizabeth Berkeley, Bronson Pinchot, Stephen Collins and Stockard Channing (unbilled).

"The First Wives Club"

Opened: September 20, 1996 | Rated: PG

"The First Wives Club" is exactly what you expect from a teaming of Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton -- a silly, vengeful romp with a few serious moments thrown in for integrity's sake.

There are no surprises, short of an opening scene cameo by Stockard Channing as a dumped first wife who throws herself out a window when her husband marries a bimbo (Heather Locklear). She becomes the catalyst for three of her college girlfriends (Hawn, Midler and Keaton) seeking vengeance on their first husbands for the same offense. And, as they say, therein the laughs ensue.

The three stars are perfectly cast, and all get their equal time for their own shtick. Hawn does her drinking, stumbling and thinking out loud about getting old, much like she did in "Death Becomes Her." Midler does a saccharine rendition of her trademark harpy. Keaton is the tentative, thoughtful one who occasionally flips her lid.

But the story, and just about every scene, is wholly predictable. There is nothing new added to the "Men Are Dogs" formula.

Because Goldie plays an out of work actress ("There are three ages for women in Hollywood," she says, "babe, district attorney and 'Driving Miss Daisy'.") there are a few "in" jokes, the funniest being the casting of Elizabeth Berkeley ("Showgirls") as her husband's new plaything, a talentless B-movie actress.

It's not a bad movie and I laughed now and again as each woman exacted some kind of humorous justice on their exes. For the most part these are quality gags, but none of them are anything a dozen monkeys with typewriters couldn't come up with given the same story treatment and asked to bang out a script.

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