Cavorting in Lockstep: “Barefoot in the Park” (1967)


barefootinpark2      Gene Saks’ film of Neil Simon’s Broadway hit retains much of the feel of a stage production as it feels artificial and performed by the two leads in a manner which suggests Proscenium Arch (most of the cast had previously appeared onstage in the play) rather than the greater fluidity of the cinema. Concentrating on a pair of mismatched (is there any other kind of character pairings existent in the Simon universe?) newlyweds- the bride a free spirit, the groom a buttoned down fuddy duddy -the play  follows the first weeks of their marital cohabitation accented by the usual tools of Simon’s jokebook arsenal including an apartment apparently operated under the conditions of Murphy’s Law, a hypochondriacal mother and a slew of exotic neighbors including a particularly randy gentleman in the attic apartment, all of whom work in great earnest to try to divert attention from the lack of freshness in the one-liners. This last is a continuous problem in the Simon oeuvre, as there is very little actual dialogue but merely a rhythmic procession of set-up line, punchline, set-up line, punchline; a reminder of the author’s sketch comedy roots.

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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in comedy, Film Reviews, movie reviews, Movies, Neil Simon, Reviews, Robert Redford, Romance, theater, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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