Though the widely-reviled Cashmere Mafia was the first Sex and the City stepchild out of the gate, Lipstick Jungle, which premieres tonight at ten, is being subjected to similar critical scorn. Despite the fact that Lipstick boasts a family friendly work environment, this tale of three New York media career gals (Brooke Shields plays a movie exec, Kim Raver is a magazine editor, and Lindsay Price is a fashion designer) is "glittery junk that nobody needs," says the Washington Post. Other papers agree wholeheartedly, but the best jibe comes from L.A. Times reviewer Mary McNamara: "Lipstick Jungle is to Sex and the City what New Coke was to Coca-Cola — a brand extension best forgotten." Oh, Snap! Check out the rest of the critical carnage, after the jump.
"Lipstick Jungle" is the superior product of this winter's "career-woman pals try having it all" dramedies, but that's not an especially esteemed sorority. Like ABC's "Mafia," it's all fairly surface-oriented stuff — grappling with ruthless bosses (who, in Sands' case, always seem to know the gossip first), fending off ambitious underlings and solving other problems particular to the filthy rich, like getting kids into a prestigious private school or having the former nanny pen a tell-all book.
New York Times
"Lipstick Jungle" is plodding and heavy-handed. "Cashmere Mafia" isn't much better, but it at least has a slightly lighter touch...This pilot opens with a montage of fancy footwear: four-inch pumps, leopard-print wedge boots, silver slippers. Those who love by the shoe, die by the shoe. "Lipstick Jungle" is a wooden clog of a melodrama squeezed into a flimsy, satin and marabou mule.
Los Angeles Times
"Lipstick Jungle" is to "Sex and the City" what New Coke was to Coca-Cola — a brand extension best forgotten. Whereas "Sex and the City" minted a genuine, shiny, new modern heroine — the sexually active, sexually explicit but still romantic good girl — "Lipstick Jungle" is content to play dress-up with a bunch of frayed-at-the-edges paper dolls. Here's Wendy Healy (Brooke Shields), the nicest movie executive you'll ever meet (she doesn't even swear), dutifully struggling to fill her roles as deal maker, mommy, wife and BFF. Needless to say, she's on the phone a lot.
Not for a second will you believe Shields as a movie mogul, not when she fights to cast a "Galileo" film or when she tangles with a director who added a gay twist to her summer romantic comedy. Shields fares better when the stories veer to her guilt about being the family breadwinner.
It's nearly a certainty that someone will call "Lipstick Jungle," NBC's new drama series about sensual and successful women, a "guilty pleasure," but it's really more of a guilty horror. You feel you're not watching a show so much as flipping through a catalogue of gaudy and pricey luxuries — glittery junk that nobody needs — and being expected to drool on cue.
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Just imagine the anti-Hillary forces condemning these two network shows about type-A female personalities, as if they had anything to do with serious achievers. The assertive-to-the point-of-aggressive woman is getting special scrutiny this year. Whether they're sparring over a lover, a promotion or a condo, women can be sharks. At least that's the vision of successful cosmopolitan women offered by a certain strain of TV series suddenly in abundance. Don't bother to call it post-feminist or third-wave feminist, just call it tacky soap opera.
Lipstick Jungle Review [Variety]
Shoe-Savvy Friends Against the City [New York Times]
Lipstick Jungle Review [Los Angeles Times]
Glossy 'Lipstick Jungle' Smacks Of 'Sex' [Boston Herald]
'Lipstick Jungle': NBC's Thick Application of Gloss [Washington Post]
'Lipstick' Is Just Another Shade Of Tacky [Seattle Post Intelligencer]