Cinema: Isn't She Great

Directed by Andrew Bergman

Jacqueline Susann wanted to be famous. She had no talent and daunting burdens--an autistic child, breast cancer. But she had an iron will, an indefatigable publicist husband named Irving Mansfield and an unsuspected gift for salacious tale telling. The couple reinvented the art of book promotion while making best sellers of novels like Valley of the Dolls. This miscast, miscalculated movie (Bette Midler and Nathan Lane star) wants them to be inspiring, missing the obvious point, which is their potentially instructive monstrousness. The result is one of the worst messes in years.

--By Richard Schickel

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