Curiously, I agree with all of the varying reviews below. From plot to setting to costume to all eight characters, it's as if this film deliberately sets out to gorge itself on cliche. Finding themselves in a film that cannot be taken seriously, the cast throws caution to the wind and just goes for it. The result is a joy. It's almost like watching a football friendly where all the pressure is off so the players just set out to entertain.
Each actress knowingly sends herself up, Emmanuelle Beart in particular playing exactly the stereotype that others have thrust upon her. Strangely, of all the cast it is Catherine Deneuve who looks a little lost from time to time, but let's not split hairs - the interaction between the women is wonderful to watch and the dialogue absolutely scintillates. It is worth buying this film just for Isabelle Huppert's brilliant depiction of the repressed, acidic aunt. I really think she gives one of the great comic performances of all time here and, for me, absolutely steals the film.
The musical interludes are a mixed bag, ranging from the cringeworthy to the moving (I thought Firmine Richard's lament in particular was rather beautiful).
Had the dialogue and wit been less polished, and had the actresses not gone at the script with gusto, this film could have
been a stinker, but instead it looks great, it's regularly laugh-out-loud funny and is, quite simply, fun. With its gathering of the leading female lights of French cinema, plus the presence of the rising star of Ludwine Sagnier, one gets the feeling that this is a film that will, despite its many flaws, endure.
My only criticism of the DVD was having American English subtitles embedded into the picture - you can't turn them off. Is it really beyond the wit and budget of a film company to have British English subtitles on DVDs sold in Britain?