When I see a movie is a "Faith & Family" movie it tends to mean that whilst the script may lack strength and the acting occasionally borders on the cheesy you can be sure that it will have great heart and meaning. And that is most certainly the case with "Ladies of the House" a tale of 3 church going women persuaded to fix up an old house by their minister and in doing so deal with problems in their own lives from a retired husband with no purpose to also dealing with a husband dying from cancer. It isn't by any means realistic, I have never seen grass grow as quickly as it does in this movie but for all that is wrong "Ladies of the House" is entertaining and pleasant.
Having been left a run down old home Pastor Wesley (Michael Ensign) asks Rose (Florence Henderson), Elizabeth (Donna Mills) & Birdie (Pam Grier) to oversee its renovation so that it can be sold to raise funds for the church's child care programme. Despite not being practically minded and having no idea about DIY the three friends throw themselves in to the renovation which inadvertently helps them deal with issues in their own life from Birdie struggling with her recently retired husband Stan being under her feet to Rose dealing with her husband Frank dying from cancer and Elizabeth being nothing more than a beautiful appendage in her marriage.
So "Ladies of the House" is a mixture of fun comedy with a variety of underlying positive messages and it is pleasant enough. Watching this trio of friends learn all about DIY as they fix up the home is amusing and the emotional underbelly be it Elizabeth realising that her marriage is a sham or Birdie dealing with the difficulties of a retired husband gives it some meaning. But I would be lying if I said it was great because like so many TV movies it suffers from a lack of finesse, one fun scene butts up against a more emotional one in a clunky manner lacking the flow of a more thought out script. It makes "Ladies of the House" a movie of fun scenes and good ideas but lacking the depth to make it more.
It also means that "Ladies of the House" is a movie of cliches and because of the under worked script some of them end up bordering on the cheesy. Of course with this also being a "Faith & Family" movie the level of nicety also adds to that element of cheese and when combined with the under worked script leads to some scenes which are painful. And the most painful of these, well for me it was very predictable and corny scene as the women put on a song and sort of dance as they decorate.
But for all the flaws "Ladies of the House" still works and whilst the characters are all cliches and quite flat there is something quite watchable about Florence Henderson, Donna Mills and Pam Grier. They all deliver their individual characters nicely and in a way watching them in the comedy parts of the movie reminded me a bit of Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes in "Mad Money".
What this all boils down to is that "Ladies of the House" is a typical "Faith & Family" movie which whilst suffering from a script which is not only under worked but full of cliches has a great heart. It is a feel good, cutesy movie which will entertain but not leave any lasting impression.