Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Woman in Red

The Woman in Red; comedy, USA, 1984; D: Gene Wilder, S: Gene Wilder, Kelly LeBrock, Charles Grodin, Gilda Radner

San Francisco. Advertisement employee Theodor is married to Didi and has two kids. One day he spots a woman in a red dress mischievously enjoying how a grate is pulling her skirt up, and goes crazy over her. He tries to find her and then spots her on a photo of an advertisement. In order to meet her and start a contact, he even enlists in horse ridding because she often does the same. Her name is Charlotte and she agrees on a date, but then has to cancel it due to a job in Los Angeles. When they finally go out, Theodor stops by to visit his grandmother - only to find his wife and kids there. However, that turns Charlotte even more on. While in bed, they are interrupted by the arrival of her husband, upon which Theodor realizes it was all a mistake.

Gene Wilder appeared in only six movies in the 80s, and one of them was in the comedy he directed himself, "The Woman in Red", that is sometimes regarded as the best of all five films he directed. A remake of the popular '76 French comedy "An Elephant Can Be Extremely Deceptive", "The Woman in Red" is a gentler version of Edwards' "10", but both are weaker in sophistication and ingenuity compared to Wilder's "Seven Year Itch" that said a lot about a married man suddenly falling in love with another woman - and despite the popularity of the title heroine enjoying a grate whooshing her skirt up, LeBrock is no Marylin. A simple, light, unassuming comedy, the movie has its moments of good jokes that arrive swiftly and effectively: one of the best is the marathon gag of Wilder's character Theodor trying to cope ridding a horse in order to meet Charlotte, just to lose an earring on the field. This culminates in a quietly hilarious sequence when the next day it is raining, but Charlotte drives all the way to his building just to give him his earring back - Theodor takes it, and then nonchalantly throws it away and pretends it is not his so that she won't suspect he is married, then uses the opportunity that Charlotte is here to flirt with her. The gags wear thin in the second half, though, whereas Charlotte is a disappointingly one-dimensional character who was underwritten and is thus more bland than charming, not to mention that the ending is pointless, even though it enabled an expressionistic little image of Wilder falling from the building in slow motion. A moderately amusing, yet uneven and shaky film.


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