Friday, March 23, 2012

Family Feud

The War of the Roses
Director: Danny DeVito
Cast: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Released: December 8, 1989

Slight spoilers in this review at the end.

This was a movie I was always aware of, but had never seen until just recently. I was too young to see it in the theaters, but I knew it was about a couple going through a nasty divorce...just how nasty I didn't know until I watched it! I knew Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner play the feuding couple, but I didn't know that Danny DeVito directed it, but it shouldn't really surprise me since he seems to be drawn to (directing) dark comedies.

Douglas and Turner play Oliver and Barbara Rose, who meet and have an affair when they're college students. They get married and have two kids (one of who will grow up to be Sean Astin). Oliver becomes a big shot lawyer and by the time their kids are pre-teens, they move into a gorgeous house that Barbara's been eyeing.

I wasn't really sure when they started hating each other, it just sort of happens without any explanation when Barbara and Oliver are giving a dinner party for some of Oliver's clients and she's angry at him for making her look like a fool. They had been pretty snide to each other back and forth but it isn't until Barbara announces she wants a divorce when things turn really nasty. After Oliver has had a heart attack, Barbara confides to him that she was really scared when she found out...scared because she was happy at the though of him dying so she could be free of him! Ha! My favorite scene is when Oliver is angry at Barbara for not visiting him in the hospital and tells her he had written a note for her and gives it to her and she reads aloud this really heartfelt note and he tells her he didn't sign it and she says, "Oh, I'm sure someone would have told me who it was from!" LMAO! The look on his face is so priceless, hahaha!

Neither of them want to give up the house when they divorce and Oliver finds a loophole in his law books (with the help of Danny DeVito who's also in the movie as Oliver's law buddy) that says that a separated couple can live under the same roof. Even though they divide the house into "his half" and "her half" and have neutral zones (like the kitchen), they still cross paths and end up doing something to infuriate the other. Oliver accidently runs over Barbara's cat, but he purposely ruins her business meaning where she's prepared a bunch of new stuff for her catering company by spitting in the soup and peeing on the fish. She reacts by running over his fancy little car with her huge car. He retaliates by burning her expensive stoves and she in turns starts breaking his expensive porcelain figurines. By the end of the movie, they get into a huge fight and find themselves on this huge chandelier that hangs over the foyer. (I missed how they actually got onto the chandelier since my POS DVD skipped during this part!) Oliver wants to swing them back over to the balcony, but Barbara tells him that the screws are loose because she was planning on dropping it on him. They call for help and DeVito and their housekeeper tell them they're going to get a ladder, but before they return, the chandelier drops and our two lead characters die. The end.

This is a pretty strange movie, but there are funny parts. Both main characters are so awful that you're never really rooting for either of them. The tag line of this movie makes me laugh: "Once in a lifetime comes a motion picture that makes you feel like falling in love all over again. This is not that movie." True that!

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