THE FIRST WIVES CLUB on Blu Ray – The You Go Girls of the 1990s

Starting in 1969, THE FIRST WIVES CLUB is a pact of four women out of college to all stay in touch with one another. Decades later and the pact not being followed, one of the women is a divorcee who jumps off of her penthouse to her death. Yes, that’s a very dark way to start a movie, but at the funeral the three women from the pact (Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn & Diane Keaton) realize that she was cheated on, and then they too realize they have also been had by their exes for much younger women. So what are they to do? Revenge, of course! 

I remember seeing THE FIRST WIVES CLUB as an advance sneak preview all the way back in 1996 in a completely sold out theatre. After the pretty somber opening (something of which would be even more sensitive material if filmed today), the movie picked up and became a real screwball comedy of manners. The laughter was loud throughout, especially in the window-washer escape sequence that while you can tell was totally filmed on a green-screen still has a lot of the zany screwball comedy moments of yesteryear.

At the time, this was a very “I am woman, hear me roar” type female-power to get back at their cheating husbands and there is a lot of slapstick but not much storytelling. For a fun escapism type of comedy though and seeing it in 2022, I just loved seeing Midler, Keaton and Hawn all showcase their individual comedic talents in very fun ways. Filmmaker Hugh Wilson (POLICE ACADEMY, BLAST FROM THE PAST) did the adaptation of the 1992 novel by Olivia Goldsmith and seems really happy to let his three leading ladies do their best. This was a big theatrical hit that also continued a life on home video. So while it’s not perfect, I enjoyed watching THE FIRST WIVES CLUB for the first time in many years.

About The Blu Ray: 

Paramount has performed a gorgeous 4k restoration of THE FIRST WIVES CLUB as part of their Paramount Presents line in the US. Since this is only a Blu Ray release, I redeemed the Apple TV code which does contain the 4k version so as per usual  I ran that version and watched the whole movie this way, then sampled the Blu Ray. Presented in its proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio with slight letterboxing on my display, I got an immediate jolt of colour and depth from the fun 1960’s-styled opening credits which had a mild amount of shimmering on some of the titles. Once that passes, it has a pretty solid film look. 

Both are complete standouts but of course if you are set up for 4k you will definitely cherish the Apple TV copy. The Blu Ray retains a lot of the look as well, so if you are only rocking Blu Ray capability this will be a very pleasing presentation and easily the best the movie has looked. 

The soundtrack is in DTS Master Audio 5.1 to match its original Dolby Digital theatrical soundtrack and it’s quite good in the front soundstage with limited surround use, and is pretty typical of comedies of the time. Nothing to test your sound system over, but it gets the job done. 

This is a Paramount Presents title in the US so while that disc will have a special slipcase with a poster, in Canada it’s the simple Blu Ray packaging with the Digital Copy included. The only feature on the disc is a new Filmmaker Focus featurette with screenwriter Robert Harling and the theatrical trailer. I’m hoping that Paramount Canada will start releasing these Paramount Presents titles in Canada as I think these and the Steelbook editions are a huge push for physical media, which is a struggling market in competition with streaming.

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

THE FIRST WIVES CLUB is now available on Blu Ray from Paramount, and many thanks to Paramount PR for sending along a copy for review.