It's hard for me to believe that the director of one of my favorite films, "The Player", went on to direct the tedious "Short Cuts" and the even more tedious "Ready to Wear". Altman's unobtrusive directorial style is stretched to the point of indifference in his newest release which, like "Short Cuts", doesn't tell a single story but rather is made up of several barely-related vignettes.
A series of fashion shows put on in Paris by the world's top designers serves as a backdrop for the various narratives. The first of these finds a female journalist (Julia Roberts) forced to share a hotel room with a male journalist (Tim Robbins) who has been asked to cancel his return to the U.S. to cover the death of a noted fashion designer. The next is about the lengths that three editors (Sally Kellerman, Tracey Ullman, Linda Hunt) of top fashion magazines are willing to go to secure a contract with a talented photographer (Stephen Rea). Another story finds a murder suspect searching out the wife of his supposed victim to rekindle a past romance with her. Other stories in the film deal with love and infidelity between fashion designers. Throughout it all Kim Basinger, as an untalented reporter for an MTV-like station, grabs interviews with the various fashion luminaries.
Although the words "dull" and "labored" fit the production, they aren't really strong enough to describe the lack of drama in "Ready to Wear". Don't be fooled by the gaggle of movie stars or the physical evidence to the contrary; there just isn't a movie here.