In the unexpectedly insightful Showtime movie Women vs. Men (premiering Sunday at 8 pm/ET), bosom buddies Christine Lahti and Glenne Headley throw out their husbands, Joe Mantegna and Paul Reiser respectively, after catching them at a lap-dance club. But, director Chazz Palminteri suggests to TV Guide Online, that's no reason for the gals to get their knickers in a knot.

"My personal take on lap dancing is, if you were out with the boys and you did it once — or a few times — it's no big deal," says the married father of two, who is best known as a tough-guy actor (Bullets Over Broadway, The Usual Suspects). "If you make it a steady habit, though, and you're spending more time [with the strippers] than with your family and your wife, then it's a problem."

Despite Palminteri's liberal stance on simulated sex, the onetime Oz helmer won high marks from Women vs. Men's leading ladies for ensuring that the female point of view was heard loud and clear. "Chazz is very diplomatic," praises Headley. "He plays both sides." Adds Lahti: "In the wrong hands, this piece could have been kind of chauvinistic."

Since that outcome was about as appealing to Palminteri as a knee to the groin, he tried — and, miraculously, managed — to poignantly reveal the fellas' reasons for patronizing a bump-and-grind bar. As a result, in the end the unhappy marrieds come off as not only worthy but sympathetic adversaries. "I wanted it to be fair... to show the best and worst of both sexes," he attests. "If you don't do that, it's not much of a battle."