October 8th, 2012
04:39 PM ET
For all of those questioning the need for an all-black "Steel Magnolias" remake, critics have found that the answer lies within the cast.
Lifetime's updated take on the 1989 movie, itself an adaptation of Robert Harling's play, premiered on Sunday. The content may not have won many fans, but the actors certainly have.
Lifetime's "Steel Magnolias" stars Queen Latifah as M'Lynn; Condola Rashad as M'Lynn's diabetic daughter Shelby; singer/actress Jill Scott as hair stylist Truvy; Phylicia Rashad (Condola's mother) as the widow Clairee; Alfre Woodard as Ouisier; and "Pariah's" Adepero Oduye as troubled beauty assistant Annelle.
At the heart of the story is the friendship and bond between the women, and that hasn't changed in Lifetime's version. It's still a tear-jerker, and just as saccharine as you remember the Julia Roberts-and-Shirley MacLaine version to be.
For the Los Angeles Times, the story could've had more of an overhaul, as the "doomed but determined young woman plotline seems hopelessly (and medically) retro. ... No offense to Harling's tale, which still retains its hypnotic influence over heart and tear ducts, but surely there is a better use for this fine ensemble ..."
But, the review continues, "If the material is not quite fine and fresh enough for its performers, it gave these six women excuse enough to be in the same room together. And that is something to see."
The Boston Herald agrees, noting that "with a cast this impressive, you wait for fireworks ... there's pleasure in seeing such talented actresses bounce off each other." Unfortunately, creating a "Steel Magnolias" remake on a Lifetime budget caused the "play's flaws [to] zoom into focus. It's a big gob of sob wrapped in a pink tissue."
While Zap2It didn't find the remake entirely necessary, "that doesn't mean it [wasn't] just as enjoyable," a review says.
"The right casting means everything," Zap2It says. "If Lifetime had remade 'Steel Magnolias' with a bunch of no-names or less talented women, it would've felt much more like a cheap cable re-do. Instead, it felt fresh and current and just as moving."
Did you catch the all-black "Steel Magnolias" remake on Lifetime? What'd you think?
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