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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Weekend TV Movie Review: Housesitter - 5 Star (1992)

Directed by Frank Oz
Cast: Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn, Dana Delany, Julie Harris, Donald Moffat, Peter McNicol
Studio: Universal Pictures
Estimated Worldwide Gross: $94,900,635 

Plot: Architect Newton Davis (Steve Martin) is distraught when his girlfriend, Becky (Dana Delany) spurns his proposal & refuses to move into a lavish house he designed for her. Davis, who cannot imagine himself living alone in the house, shares his tale of woe with Gwen (Goldie Hawn), a dishonest waitress he thinks doesn't speak English. Complications arise when Davis, on the brink of reconciliation with Becky, discovers that Gwen has moved into the couple's soon-to-be dream home

*This review may contain spoilers*

'Neither Steve Martin Or Goldie Hawn's Best Movie, But It Is Still Cute'

Housesitter was released back in 1992 to relatively little fanfare but with mixed reviews, this little rom-com offering sees the interesting pairing of Steve Martin with Goldie Hawn (of whom later reunited for The Out- Of- Towners, which was a vastly inferior film to this one) as an architect, Newton who finds out that waitress & stranger, Gwen has moved into the house that he has built. 

The film plays out more like a screwball comedy, as opposed to your typical standard rom-com as seen in When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman and many more. Steve Martin's character, Newton Davis has his heart broken by his childhood sweetheart, Becky after he presents to her a house that he has built and designed for the pair of them. Astonishingly, she thinks he did a barmy thing that she callously dumps him. Later on, Newton drowns his sorrows and seeks solace in Gwen, of whom he meets at a bar & they end up having a fling together. Goldie Hawn plays a lovable and offbeat con artist/waitress, Gwen: the chronic-yet charming liar who poses as Newton's wife after moving into the house, which was left vacant and both her and Newton stage an elaborate plan in convincing their parents that they are getting married. Martin as Newton is a man trying to get his life back on track, both professionally and in his personal life. 

Complications arise further on in the movie when Newton's feelings for his ex resurface when she admits she made a terrible mistake, after she finds out that he has 'gotten hitched' to Gwen that she tries to weasel her way back into his life and when Gwen realises she has fallen in love with Newton for real. The exchanges between Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin are pretty good and as ever with all rom-coms, this one does have a predictable ending and happy resolution. 

There was a movie titled 'Bringing Down The House' released in 2002, which had a very similar-ish plot-line with the former ex- love, but with the added addition of the kids. That also starred Steve Martin and it was the flip side to Housesitter

Compared to Overboard, Housesitter is not as good, but it is still a somewhat likeable Goldie Hawn movie. It is not either their best effort by a long distance, although it certainly has its moments. Steve Martin plays the lover-able loser protagonist role really well, & a role that he is not usually well known for, whereas Hawn as the awesome love interest exhibits that lovable charm and quirky, free-spirited nature of her character that makes her a cut above Newton's pedestrian and dullard girlfriend, Becky, played by Dana Delany.  

The movie is well paced and is at times, funny and amusing. The acting and performances are good; though there were moments which were so dull that I did not care for them and I just them go over my head. But some of the jokes and humour was good. The humour in many of Steve Martin's movies will not hit you over the head, rather it is very much on the witty side that you have to think about the joke and getting the joke, in order to laugh about it. 

The consequences of stretching the truth are all the more disastrous and amusing -but also for Davis and Gwen, it acts as a real eye-opener as they come to their senses about what they really want. Not just out of this 'fake' marriage but for what they want out of each other, for each other & for their future. 

Final Verdict:

In all, the film is decent and even though it is marketed and comes across as a screwball comedy, there are times where Housesitter completely misses the mark.

The whole pretending to fall in love premise by posing as a husband and wife in romantic comedies isn't a silly idea, nor new, rather it just illustrates how far one will go in this charade and whether or not the other person will see to it that there is more to their 'relationship' than one had previously expected. The fact that Housesitter is a screwball comedy and not your average rom-com, is what attracted my attention in the first place. & I am not usually into rom-coms that much. 

If only the humour and comedy was a lot more consistent; had that been the case, I could see to it being a far more compelling and superior screwball/romantic comedy. 

Both Hawn and Martin have appeared in better movies than this - though I'd still take this over The Out-of-Towners. If you enjoyed Overboard, then I think you will become attached to Housesitter, which whilst it is a dissimilar affair, is still a fairly decent -yet cute rom-com. 


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