Throwback Thursday Review: “Bad Girls” (1994)





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Posted September 1, 2016 by

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Bad Girls 1

Westerns were all the rage, for a while, in the 90s. They came in all shapes and sizes. There were the good (“Tombstone”, “Unforgiven”) the bad (“Wild, Wild West”, “Posse”) and the ugly but still damn good (“Ravenous”, “Dead Man”). With all of the movies set in the wild west, you would think that one of them featuring four beautiful actresses, at the top of their game, portraying bad to the bone, gun-slinging prostitutes would have been guaranteed to be 100% awesome… You would be wrong. Proving that there is no limits, to the damage that a horrible screenplay can do, “Bad Girls” was released in 1994 (a year after Western mega hit “Tombstone”), and disappointed critics and moviegoers alike.

The plot of “Bad Girls” is a simple one. Cody (Stowe) is prostitute, in a small Western town, with a history of violence. When she kills a general, for beating another working girl, the townsfolk decide to have a good old fashion hangin’. Fortunately, Cody is saved, when fellow prostitutes Anita (Masterson), Eileen (MacDowell), and Lilly (Barrymore) ride in, looking like supermodels who decided to dress as cowgirls for Halloween, and rescue her.

Bad Girls 2The four women go on the run, but not before a run in with Kid Jarret (Russo), who is not only a sadistic bank robber but also Cody’s ex lover. With Pinkertons on their tail, and nowhere else to go, they decide to head to Oregon and start a sawmill business. The only problem is that Kid Jarret took all of their money, and they have no supplies. If there is one thing these women are good at, though, it is doing whatever it takes to survive.

The thing that is the most disappointing, about “Bad Girls”, is that it had all of the right ingredients to make a really fun, original movie. At the time, there had been very few Westerns that told their story from the female perspective, and even fewer that showed women as strong, independent settlers, who didn’t need a scruffy, white knight to save them. Literally all director Jonathan Kaplan and his team of writers had to do was craft a decent story, give their leading ladies some good character development, and arm them with a handful of cool moments of badassery. I mean even the name “Bad Girls” suggests that these ladies are going to be down and dirty, right?

Instead, Kaplan and company relied on tired cliches, a couple of half-baked romances, and Drew Barrymore’s… assets to supply the entertainment value. Oh and did I mention the forced in and never expanded on girl on girl kiss, between Eileen and Lilly? Or the horribly choreographed gunfights? Plus there is the fact that the girls aren’t really THAT bad. The amount of time they spend, on screen, as prostitutes is about ten minutes. The rest of the time, they are running away from bad guys, who slap, whip, molest, and rape them repeatedly. Even when the women do stand up to their attackers, and get a chance to fire their guns, they do ridiculously stupid things, like bargain for the release of Cody’s new loverboy Josh (Mulroney) by giving the gang of bad guys a loaded gatling gun and trusting them to not use it!

Really this whole movie is one bad creative choice after another. What a waste. The only reasons I can come up with, to recommend watching it, are seeing Drew Barrymore at peak attractiveness and laughing at how well-groomed and non-threatening the “Villains” are. Other than that, this is a movie you should avoid. I hardly ever say this, but this movie would be a perfect remake candidate. I know some




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