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The Banger Sisters shoots for the gutter

Like Thelma and Louise without the heart or the girl-on-girl chemistry, The Banger Sisters is a depressing spin on the Something Wild formula, in which a sexy free spirit shows an uptight American how to cut loose.

Goldie Hawn's cutesy-shtick has withered into a total of two signature gestures: eyes peeking over her sunglasses and pouting suspiciously Botox-esque ducky lips. Both are worked like nobody's business in Hawn's performance as faded '60s wild child Suzette, who bartends at the Sunset Strip's Whisky A Go Go where she and best friend Vinnie (Susan Sarandon) once earned the moniker "the banger sisters" for "rattling" with the likes of Jim Morrison and Frank Zappa. When Suzette loses her job, she road trips out to Phoenix to look up her former girlfriend and partner-in-crime for a loan and some moral support.

Along the way, Suzette hooks up with a repressed failed writer named Harry (Geoffrey Rush), who, in the folksy wisdom of serial rapists, just needs a "good lay" to set him straight. Suzette provides him with said lay and unwittingly unleashes a writerly spurt, becoming his creative muse as well.

Though Suzette initially encounters resistance, she soon finds her sex-sprite magic working on former gal pal Vinnie, too.

"Vinnie" is now a prim Phoenix matron who goes by "Lavinia" with two teenage daughters and a lawyer husband who's contemplating a career in politics. Anxious to forget her past, Lavinia brushes off her old friend until Suzette helps save Lavinia's valedictorian daughter from a drug-meltdown at her senior prom.

The Banger Sisters is a crude affair, made more so by director Bob Dolman's multiple attempts to make the words "hand job" into a source of comedy. That gutter sensibility makes for an odd match with the film's trivial message about not losing oneself in conformity, and it drags down the forced-enthusiasm of Suzette and Vinnie's wild girl reunion, which is as dispirited and distinctly unmagical as the rest of this lame effort. Image Image Image Image Image ??

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