HOUSESITTER starts out slowly and never stops being implausible or predictable. Neither Steve Martin nor Goldie Hawn do anything we haven't seen them do before, and neither of them play especially likeable characters. The strange thing is that, despite these failings, the movie is
obstinately, sometimes painfully funny.
Martin plays Newton Davis, a Boston architect who builds a dream house for the love of his life, Becky (Dana Delany), in the small New England town where they grew up. After Becky rejects his marriage proposal, Davis confides his woes in Gwen (Goldie Hawn), a waitress/con-artist whose response to
his sob story is pretty unconventional. While Davis mopes about in the city, Gwen moves into the country house, convincing his family, friends and neighbors that she is the architect's new wife.
Gwen's greatest gift, and the driving force of the movie, is her ability to spin tall tales. For each jam in which she finds herself, out comes a fib even more outrageous than the one which got her there in the first place. Once Davis gets wise to what's going on, he too is drawn into the
fictional web she's created. Why? Because Gwen's little stories have an uncanny way of bringing Davis all the things he wants--a reconciliation with his parents, a promotion, and, most of all, the chance to win back Becky.
Part of the fun of HOUSESITTER comes from the balance between what's predictable and what's not. You can always tell when Gwen is about to pop up and throw Davis a curve ball, but the actual stories she comes out with are ingenious and, sometimes, hilarious. With a pair of blithely assured
performances from its two stars, some fine supporting work, and the odd moment of inspired lunacy, HOUSESITTER is worth a visit.
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