The truth is that this particular morsel is as much like "Sex and the City" as "Gunsmoke" is to every other TV western. Within any genre -- in the "Lipstick Jungle" case, the genre of best-bud city girls -- certain details and situations must be endlessly recycled. So, as in HBO's "Sex" and ABC's "Cashmere Mafia," a constant theme is man troubles, and there will be an inordinate amount of time for shoe shopping and bonding. True, the two newer shows add an element that HBO's hit hardly touched -- they depict their characters in offices, where the girls cope with work-balance issues and schemers. Oddly, though, the emphasis on careerism adds an element of wild incredulity to the series, since no highflyers in the real world could spend so little time at their desks as the ones here do.
[Brooke Shields (left) and Lindsay Price in 'Lipstick Jungle']
Brooke Shields (left) and Lindsay Price in 'Lipstick Jungle'
All that aside, "Lipstick Jungle" has some good things going for it, including actresses in roles that call for slightly more maturity than we're accustomed to, and juicy enough meanies to give it a little suspense. The first episodes introduce us to our three New Yorkers, most notably Brooke Shields as movie-studio boss Wendy. She's married to a man who does most of the raising of their two children because, it appears, he can't make it as a restaurateur.
But Wendy is no Harvey Weinstein. She knows how to phone Leonardo DiCaprio and bluff him into signing on for a movie she's making. Otherwise, she is basically a hugger. And, as it turns out, she's a woman who looks after the welfare of a child actress. Those familiar with Ms. Shield's own trajectory will be slack jawed during an episode with a show-business mother from hell who is trying to shove her pubescent daughter into a film that involves sex scenes with an adult man.
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