I DON'T know about you, but I was disappointed for Demi Moore when I read that her new movie semi-tanked at the box office this weekend.
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle debuted at $38 million, off $2.1 million from the opening numbers put up by the first movie, which means it sold about a million fewer tickets.
Guess Demi will have to put aside any desire she has for public acclaim for her high art.
Still, that's not a bad haul for a film riding the promotional back of a 40-year-old mother of three. The last time we saw a bikini-clad mom in the movie trailers, it was Jane Fonda in On Golden Pond. I don't think they let Susan Sarandon even go sleeveless anymore.
Sony is hoping strong weekday attendance will give the movie a boost, but I can't tell which demographic they are counting on - the mom's-day-out crowd or under-employed teen-age boys, movie-goers who might be collectively described as the wannabes.
Anyway, Moore's 20-something boyfriend and her 20-something body have combined for what Hollywood promotional types call her current "narrative," and Sidney Sheldon couldn't have written a better one. She did more than emerge from a hiatus, she did it with a stunner body and a story line.
After a series of crummy movies such as Striptease and GI Jane, Moore retreated to Hailey, Idaho, to recover from the death of her mother and the breakup of her marriage to Bruce Willis, and to focus on raising her three daughters.
We caught only occasional People magazine glimpses of her new PTA persona and her warm relationship with her ex as they raised the girls.
When she agreed to her daughters' squealing pleas to take an Angels part, she did more than just show up in shape. She provided plenty of back story for the movie's publicity machine.
In February, she appeared in her favorite sitcom, Will & Grace, as Jack's former babysitter and fantasy interest; the pictures of her in a bikini escaped from the Charlie's Angels set, and she appeared at select clubs and parties smooch- ing with that classically trained star of TV's That '70s Show and Punk'd, Ashton Kutcher.
She topped it off with a sophisticated glamour shoot in the July issue of Vogue - a far cry from the naked, publicity stunt Vanity Fair covers of her past. The Vogue pictures drew praise from even the snippiest fashion-heads: Here was a 40-year-old who looked 40 - not 25 - and she made 40 look pleasing and dignified.
When she showed up at the Charlie's Angels premiere with her children, her ex-husband and her new boyfriend (give Willis some credit here), we could only conclude that Demi, indeed, has it all - again. She had it and lost it, and she got it back.
We love those kinds of stories.
We have watched Demi Moore since she was a soap opera vixen and the vulnerable cokehead in St. Elmo's Fire, and now she is a mom getting her second wind.
The passage of time alone makes us think she has matured, and it helps us forget every dumb movie she ever made and every nasty thing she ever said. Mysteriously, we respect her now. Secretly, we give her major props for the cradle-robbing.
Don't get me wrong. Just because Demi Moore is a car-pooling, Starbucks-swilling mom doesn't mean there is a bikini scene and a baby boyfriend in the cards for any of the rest of us.
That's what we go to the movies for.