Diverting performances from Elizabeth Perkins and Kevin Bacon keep this gimmicky battle of the sexes from sinking to the cringe level, but it’s nip and tuck all the way. First-time screenwriter Brian Hohlfeld developed the idea with two of his friends, directors Marisa Silver (Old Enough) and Ken Kwapis (Vibes). In asking about their relationship, Hohlfeld heard divergent stories and thought that a movie made from two points of view might be fun, with Silver directing the woman’s side and Kwapis the man’s.
The result is a sort of sitcom Rashomon. Bacon is Dan and Perkins is Lorie — they write pro-and-con columns for the Baltimore Sun. Chummy, conservative Dan and feisty, liberal Lorie are always at odds — except in bed, of course. Their bickering proves so popular that they soon have their own TV show as the Siskel and Ebert of local issues. But Lorie gets jealous over Dan’s attentions to a blond bombshell, a role vividly vamped by Sharon Stone. On the air, Lorie pitches a cup at Dan’s head and causes a scandal.
Hohlfeld aspires to the smart sophistication of Tracy-Hepburn films, but it remains out of his reach. Kwapis directs with the subtlety of an anvil, and Silver fares only marginally better. The sight gags are strictly low-grade: Dan imagines the women who chase him as elegant debs; Lorie sees them as sluts with breasts spilling out of their dresses. Never mind what he says or she says — what the movie says doesn’t add up to more than a trifle.