Danny de Vito directs and stars as a lawyer recounting the tale of the Roses, his close friends, whose long marriage was one of the thorniest he’s ever seen.
The Roses comprise of Oliver (Michael Douglas), a self-important lawyer and Barbara (Kathleen Turner), a budding gymnast who has to readjust to her mundane life of supposed domestic bliss.
This is a remarkably good comedy which is surprisingly lacking in notoriety given its well known cast, excellently crafted script and skilled direction. For a film which is essentially about a wealthy couple arguing over a house, it’s remarkably engaging, as the conflict becomes almost as long and messy as its historical namesake.
It offers a finesse to its writing which is all too rare in comedies these days, which keeps you wanting to know what happens next while the laughs come thick and fast. For comparison just look at the bland and empty The Break Up.
De Vito brings the material to life with his excellent direction showing how well he understands the genre, timing each joke for maximum effect while never overplaying it. And at the end of it all, it has a surprising moral message which gives it meaning above and beyond a wealthy couple’s petty squabbles.