Martin's Got a Girl in His House
Having been dumped by his childhood sweetheart Becky (Dana Delany) after presenting her with their dream house and asking her to marry him, Newton Davis (Steve Martin - Father of the Bride) returns to the city and his job as an architect. Three months later he meets Gwen (Goldie Hawn - Deceived), a waitress who he not only shares a night of romance with but also details about the house he lovingly built which sits empty in his hometown of Dobbs Mill. But when Newton decides it's time to sell the house he is surprised to discover Gwen has found it, moved in and worst of all told everyone, including Becky and his parents, that she is his wife. Newton agrees to keep up the masquerade as he realises that Becky is now jealous and once again interested in him.
The thing about "HouseSitter" is that whilst after about 15 minutes you know what sort of movie it will be, a take on the two people not realising they are falling in love, it's the clever and funnily contrived way it happens which entertains. When Gwen rolls into Dobbs Mill and discovers the beautiful house you know she will end up concocting a web of lies to live the life she dreamed off, but what a funny exaggerated set of lies it is. You know that Newton will show up and end up going along with the deceit as he still holds a torch for his ex causing even more exaggerated lies. And so it goes on, the lies getting bigger, more outrageous and when crunch time comes as Newton's parents hold a reception for them you wonder how they will keep the masquerade going. It's all incredibly good fun, exaggerated good fun which makes you laugh through how absurd some of the lies become.
But in amongst all these lies and comedy, "HouseSitter" also cleverly lays plans for Gwen and Newton to fall for each other, pleasant little moments like shared tastes in crockery designs, the fact that Newton comes home with take away Chinese, which sort of fulfils one of the lies which Gwen concocted. It's all rather nice making the romance sort of fun, well sort of but it does give "HouseSitter" some meaning and stops it just feeling like one gag after another.
But it is the performances of both Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn which makes "HouseSitter" such good fun. Strangely Steve Martin seems restrained, holding back his wild and whacky persona so that he is in balance with Goldie but it works. There are still those moments of classic Steve Martin exuberance, the wild eyes, the visual slapstick but it is the way he tells a lie, the over the top daftness which makes every joke work. The same for Goldie Hawn whose facial expressions, the wide eyed look of shock and a smile which hides a devious mind makes everything she says touched with humour. But it is the collaboration, the over the top arguments, the pretence of being a couple when with others which works so well and make for a great screen pairing.
What this all boils down to is that "HouseSitter" is a sadly under rated movie which delivers so many laughs despite using quite a simple story. And it is the partnership of Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn which makes it so much fun from the humorous arguments, the pretence of being in love and the slow realisation that they are.