A Private War
Crazy Rich Asians
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No consensus yet.
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All Critics (6)
| Top Critics (2)
| Fresh (0)
| Rotten (6)
| DVD (1)
[A] laboured, overdressed Parisian comedy.
Mr. Shavelson's quips are fast, contemporary and polished to a bright slickness but his story is obvious and thin and his principals belabor the obvious to little avail.
The fourth onscreen teaming of Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward is a thin, lame comedy, written and directed by Shavelson, which doesn't befit the caliber of their talents.
Some sharp lines of dialog, a few too many camera tricks, and a general feeling of going-through-the-motions.
Predictable and borderline offensive.
men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and writer-director Melville Shavelson is from Neptune
The beginning of the movie is quite glamorous and charming in a "they don't make 'em like this anymore" kind of way. I especially dig the self-referential commentary in the opening credits, Joanne Woodward's shag mop, and Paul Newman's pouty smoulder. However, the story would have been just fine as an opposite's attract romp. Instead, the mistaken identity/insultingly garish-looking prostitute bit just embarrasses the hell out of Woodward. The message is overtly patriarchal: once-bitten-twice-shy businesswoman secretly DOES want to get married, so she gets a makeover, tells some tall tales, baits a guy, and gets bodily thrown into bed in a clever-if-it-weren't-so-sexist sports metaphor.
A down-and-out reporter and a fashion designer fall in love in Paris.
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward's excuse to be together while working is a costume drama, except there's very little drama. It's more like a costume/farce. The rather contrived situations are interrupted by dumb special effects/schtick, and there's almost no character development. Even though Edith Head's costumes are great to look at and Newman and Woodward occasionally have the type of chemistry that only an off-screen husband and wife can convey on film, the film ultimately fails.
What is more, films always uphold or reject a certain set of values, and in this case, women are supposed to be virgins who don't work or have any will that isn't subservient to a man. Woodward's character, Sam, is a successful working woman, but in order to woo Steve she puts on the guise of a socialite/prostitute. Think the reverse of As You Like It. Over the course of the film, Sam insists on being called Samantha, and she incurs Steve's wrath for her whore act. Meanwhile, Steve philanders like the last of the red hot lovers, and there is very little comment, as though such behavior is not only accepted but encouraged. The film's conclusion reveals its morality: though made in 1963, the roles of women in this film are stuck in the 50s.
Overall, this is another great example for someone looking to write a feminist critique against a movie.
Silly comedy bouyed enormously by the supporting performances of Thelma Ritter, Eva Gabor, and George Tobias.
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