Relying on a gimmick that barely served then-married Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in DIVORCE HIS and DIVORCE HERS, a pair of 1973 TV movies, HE SAID, SHE SAID recounts the same yuppie romance twice, spun first by Ken Kwapis and followed by co-director Marisa Silver.
Dan Hanson (Kevin Bacon) is an obit writer and ladies' man afraid to commit to a real romantic relationship and saddled with an alluring and extremely jealous girlfriend, Linda (Sharon Stone). Lorie Bryer (Elizabeth Perkins) is marriage-minded and reports on social news while yearning for more
serious work. When both are promised the same bylined column, editor Wally Thurman (Nathan Lane) decides to run their initial articles side by side. Agreeing about nothing, Dan and Lorie somehow fall in love; their columns prove immensely popular, and soon the pair, plagued by Linda's attempts to
reclaim Dan, have their own similarly formatted TV talk show, which puts an additional strain on their already tenuous personal versus professional lives.
Kwapis's (SESAME STREET PRESENTS: FOLLOW THAT BIRD, VIBES) half is breezier and funnier while Silver's (PERMANENT RECORD, VITAL SIGNS) is more introspective and reflective. Since they're telling the same story, the opportunity for some interesting sex-role/personality differences are largely
wasted, although a couple of scenes deftly utilize differing costuming, lighting, dialogue and acting styles as a hint of what this picture could have been. (That Kwapis and Silver are married in real life compounds the felony.)
Perhaps the chief problem is that the entire screenplay was written by newcomer Brian Hohlfeld, whose work seldom transcends flat sitcom humor and sexual stereotypes of the romantic comedy genre. (Fantasizing what the Hepburn/Tracy/Cukor triumvirate could have made of this project is much more
gratifying than actually viewing this often drearily photographed and designed movie.) Acting is so-so, with Bacon overdoing his patented boyish charm and Perkins coming off more neurotic than intended, while the sultry Sharon Stone (TOTAL RECALL, YEAR OF THE GUN) steals every scene she's in as
Bacon's possessive ex-girlfriend.
Produced by Frank Mancuso, Jr. (INTERNAL AFFAIRS, PERMANENT RECORD and son of the Paramount head who put this movie in production before exiting his post), HE SAID, SHE SAID was shot in and around Baltimore with the Baltimore Sun offices serving as the principal newsroom settings. (Sexualsituations.)
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