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Movie: Calendar Girls

Our Rating: 3.00

This year's stab at recreating "The Full Monty" is more "The Full Mary" -- a ripped-from-yesterday's-headlines story about an English ladies' league that strips down to the wrinkled altogether for a charity calendar. Their aim is to buy furniture for their local hospital's cancer wing, but as soon as their bristol-baring project meets with success,the movie all but forgets about such morbid matters to focus on the girls' typically fractious transformation into Hollywood celebrities. Therein lies the problem with passing off a glorified "Today" show segment as a full-length feature: Real life seldom follows a ironclad narrative structure, which may be why "Calendar Girls" plays like a string of minor conflicts and resolutions instead of one great, overarching crusade. Among the many plot threads that fight for dominance, the most interesting is the widening gap between the group's better- and worse-preserved members -- a seriocomic development steeped in our awareness that star Helen Mirren is (and always will be) one saucy old broad. Includes a wholly gratuitous cameo by Anthrax (the band, not the powder).

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