Theatrical battle of the sexes?

Liz Smith says only men are trashing "Mamma Mia!" Meanwhile, an L.A. Times blogger explains why women can't handle "The Dark Knight." Oh, please!

Published July 22, 2008 4:27PM (EDT)

Is it sexist to trash "Mamma Mia!"? Liz Smith seems to think so. The doyenne of Manhattan gossip launches her column today by quoting New York Sun reviewer Grady Hendrix, who complains that "Mamma Mia!" has been "getting trashed by some critics, who all have one thing in common: They're men."

Actually, that's not true. Our own Stephanie Zacharek couldn't stand the saccharine ABBA movie musical, writing that "I felt I was being thoroughly, and unenjoyably, punished." A quick look at Rotten Tomatoes suggests she is certainly not the only female critic experiencing an intense toothache from all that sugar: The movie got the thumbs down from Elizabeth Weitzman at the New York Daily News, Dezha Gaubert at E! Online and Ann Hornaday at the Washington Post. In fact, the only female reviewer I could find who did thoroughly champion the film is Slate's Dana Stevens. Even Rex Reed hated this thing.

Smith's gripe seems to be that a movie that finally appeals to her -- singing! romance! no violence! -- is getting pissed on by reviewers. But this isn't a matter of sexism, Liz; it's a matter of taste.

Meanwhile, in an item that really only deserves a footnote, Los Angeles Times blogger Monica Corcoran asks, "Why can't women handle 'The Dark Knight'?" Apparently it's because our bladders are too small (gagging motion, vomiting motion, stabbing self with plastic knife motion). OK, Monica, you go see "Mamma Mia!" I'll be at "The Dark Knight," since I've learned how to excuse myself from a theater when I need to use the restroom.

By Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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