"barefoot in the park" is one of the wittiest comedies tackling the complementariness of genders, as jack nicholson remarks in "as good as it gets": a woman is a man devoid of reasonability and self-constraint, if you wanna comprehend how woman functions, just to shed off reason and discipline. it's probably the most sarcastic criticism on woman. ha. in the case of "barefoot in the park", this couple have the discord that fonda wanna walk barefoot in the park, but redford refuses becuz it's freezing cold in the squad that is utterly reasonable, no doubt about it.
fonda's corie is a wild goose with naive opitimistism, that kind of person who would say "tomorrow is another day" with giggles..redford's paul is a properly conducted lawyer who believes in common sense and emotional maturity. and their bond is due to widely acknowledged "opposite attraction"..while corie's being adventrously whimsical, paul frowns in tranquill disapproval. their disgreement detonates when it comes to hooking corie's mother(mildred natwick) a blind date with the elderly bohemian wacko upstairs, who dines in various bizarrely exotic nauseatic cushine.
it's the script of humorous dialogues that accomplishes the charm of this flick, and there're lots of facetious jokes. such as the laboriously climbing to their overcharged apartment with no bath tube and the loothole on the ceiling as well as a bunch of wacky neighbours. you gotta read between the lines to chew over this mildly suave sense of ridicules which belongs totally to the league of feminine-ness and only comprehended by man who has a irresonable spouse like that in the household.
as for the concrete ideas of gender sphere in this flick, paul stands for the absolute reason; corie is the spontaneous romanticist. she demeans him as stuffed shirt, and he bombards her for the lack of rational sensibility. then corie cracks up for divorce, heart-broken paul runs amok. eventually they concede part of themselves as symmetry: distressed paul finally gets drunk then walks barefoot in the park; corie someway accepts mother's advice to give up a little bit of herself to take care of paul in their tiny shell to make him feel important.
another parallel is the friendship of natwick as corie's mother and charles boyer as the quirky neighbor. one uptight conservative woman neutralizes herself with some unpredicatibility from another free-spirited man who also yields to behave himself in norm.
reason and emotion should be appropriately counteracted with the solace of love and mutual concession that is the central wisdom of this play.