Bruce Fretts
July 28, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Isn’t She Great” and ”Drowning Mona”

Anyone wondering why the once-divine Miss M is deigning to do a self-titled CBS sitcom this fall need only rent these big-screen botches. In Isn’t She Great, Midler careens between low camp and even-lower melodrama as Jacqueline Susann — trash-novel author (Valley of the Dolls), long-suffering mom, narcissistic loudmouth. Perhaps a better title would’ve been Isn’t She Grating. Bette chews on the title role of Drowning Mona, as a small-town harridan who’s murdered by one of her many enemies. She could learn a lesson in subtlety from her leading men, Isn’t She Great‘s Nathan Lane and Drowning Mona‘s Danny DeVito, whose underplayed performances are these misfires’ only bright spots. Isn’t She Great: D; Drowning Mona: D-

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