Barefoot in the Park tells the story of two people who get married who are vastly different – one is a free spirit while the other is straight-laced as can be – who try and make their marriage work as best they can while still coming to an understanding of what marriage involves as well as a better understanding of the other spouse. Living in a fifth-floor apartment in Manhattan which has the world’s longest flights of stairs and that’s practically falling down around their ears with some very eccentric neighbors certainly doesn’t help the situation they find themselves in.
It’s by Neil Simon, who I’m not an enormous fan of, but I re-rented this because, well, I liked it the first time I saw it. By now, I don’t think it should be an enormous surprise to anyone that I’m not an extreme fan of romantic comedies (I think the only “romantic” movie I own is probably Hope Floats, unless you woke up with a concussion this morning and view Predator as being “romantic”). But I like this movie.
I still like it, even watching it ten or so years later. The direction’s good; Robert Redford is (a) smoking hot and (b) fantastically fantastic in this. All of the supporting cast are wonderful, especially one of the in-laws. The film’s good. It’s got a great ending. I’d rewatch it…except…
It’s like some sort of switch flipped in my brain somewhere along the way in between viewings and I didn’t notice. What caused this? Maybe I got sick of Jane Fonda. Maybe I had a traumatic head injury. Maybe I was abducted by aliens. I’m going to go with the whole “abducted by aliens” thing, because maybe then I could at least get a book deal out of it. But Jane Fonda makes me grit my teeth all the way through this movie. As Corie, Redford’s wife, she plays her role in a very perky, overexcited fashion. Not that the character of Corie’s not written to be flighty and a little neurotic, because she is. Fonda, however, plays her as so exuberant and excitable that it makes me start developing that twitch in the corner of my eye that I can’t stop.
Really, the movie’s worth it to see just for Robert Redford. He takes what could’ve been a very bland character and even in his humdrum normalcy gives it a lot of life and a lot more depth than I think somebody else would have. And it’s good to see this one for the supporting cast.
Just make sure you bring your mouthguard for Fonda. God.