When I first reviewed this unassuming—and thoroughly pleasant—fact-based British comedy from the beginning of 2004, I gave it four stars and noted that I’d be revisiting it more than once. Well, things happened and this is the first time I got around to revisiting it. This tale of a group of middle-aged (and upward) women who opted to create a pinup calendar (more cheesecake than nudity) for charity still has its charms—mostly in the person of Helen Mirren—but I tend to think I overstated them at the time.
The more-than-a-little clichéd plot that is grafted onto the story’s facts to give them dramatic form felt more forced this time. (In reality, there were no objections to the calendar from the onset.) The largely style-free direction of Nigel Cole also does the film no favors. The script still has its share of bright lines and the performers are all pleasant, even when the characters sometimes fall into the realm of Britcom Eccentrics 101. In the end, I think, Calendar Girls is probably just one of those movies that works fine on a single viewing, but doesn’t offer much on a second look. So if you’ve never seen it, it’s certainly worth your while, but if you have, don’t expect fireworks—just a nice little movie.