NYT Verdict on "The Other Boleyn Girl": A slog

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More slog than romp, “The Other Boleyn Girl” tells the salacious story of two hot blue bloods who ran amok and partly unclothed in the court of Henry VIII. Best known for losing her head to the king, first metaphorically, then literally, Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman, saucy), along with her sister, Mary (Scarlett Johansson, sedate), entered the court of the king (Eric Bana, brooding and glowering) when he was still wed to Catherine of Aragon (Ana Torrent). A man of considerable and changeable appetites, the king yearned for a male heir and anything in a frock who wasn’t the queen. His sexual wish was their command.

According to this oddly plotted and frantically paced pastiche — written by Peter Morgan, directed by Justin Chadwick — the girls were more or less the Paris and Nicky Hilton of the Tudor court. In the film’s version of the Boleyn family saga, based on the novel by Philippa Gregory of the same title, they were pimped out by their scheming, ambitious father, Sir Thomas (a spidery Mark Rylance), who sought to advance the family on the backs of his daughters while Mrs. Sir Thomas (Kristin Scott Thomas) clucked darkly from the sidelines. Forced to compete for kingly favors, the women were soon rivals, a contest that, in its few meagerly entertaining moments, recalls the sisterly love in “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”

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