But writer-director Bob Dolman, a former writer for WKRP in Cincinnati, has no interest in playing that tune. He's too glib to go for sad songs or deep funk. What might have been a rumination on aging -- Hawn, still preternaturally childish and lithe, exists as if to prove some people never do grow older -- is never more thoughtful than a sitcom. Everyone from the substance-abusing daughter (Traffic's Erika Christensen, throwing up where she left off) to the suicidal writer (Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush) has his or her problem resolved. All that's missing is the laugh track to fill in the stale air.
Suzette is Penny Lane without soul, a foul-mouthed specter trapped in the past. "Jim Morrison's a ghost, and so are you," says her boss before firing her. Broke and out of work, she drives to Arizona to bum money off her old buddy Lavinia (Susan Sarandon). Now married to an attorney and the mother of two daughters with their own troubles, Lavinia has long since discarded her rock past. She's respectable -- suburban, in other words, living where good times go to die.
This being a movie, Suzette thaws out her old pal just in time for a night of drinking and dancing and thumbing through old photos of rock-star cocks ("That's Keith!") while smoking a decades-old joint. One second, Lavinia is lecturing Suzette about the need to be responsible; the next, she's flinging dinner at her husband, guzzling wine from the bottle and pouring herself into yesterday's leather pants.
The Banger Sisters has its moments, but they never add up. There is a touching scene in which Lavinia's daughters can't fathom the notion of their mother as a reckless, young free spirit; they can't see her in any color but beige. But Dolman is in too much of a hurry to rush Suzette and Lavinia into a nightclub, where they dance to Talking Heads and flirt with boys young enough to be their sons. That's way more fun than having grown women talk to each other like grown women.