Divorce lawyer Danny De Vito warns his prospective client that the story he's about to tell isn't a pretty one, but the client listens with eager intensity -- as do the folks out there in the movie in the audience. The War of the Roses can best be described as a slapstick tragedy concerning the decline and literal fall of a marriage. After 17 ...
Divorce lawyer Danny De Vito warns his prospective client that the story he's about to tell isn't a pretty one, but the client listens with eager intensity -- as do the folks out there in the movie in the audience. The War of the Roses can best be described as a slapstick tragedy concerning the decline and literal fall of a marriage. After 17 years, Oliver (Michael Douglas) and Barbara (Kathleen Turner) Rose want a divorce. Not for this couple is there anything resembling a "civilized understanding": Barbara wants their opulent house, and Oliver isn't about to part with the domicile. Barbara nails the basement door shut while Oliver is downstairs, Oliver disrupts Barbara's fancy party by taking aim at the catered dinner, Barbara lays waste to Oliver's sports car....and so it goes, culminating in a disastrous showdown around, about and under the living room's fancy chandelier. DeVito and screenwriter Michael Leeson never let us forget that the couple's self-indulgent imbroglio exacts an awful price upon their children (Sean Astin and Heather Fairfield). The War of the Roses was adapted from the novel by Warren Adler. Hal Erickson, Rovi
Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Marianne Sägebrecht, Sean Astin. Very good in very good packaging. Language: English. Run time: 116 mins. Originally released: 1989. 1995 release. From personal collection, NOT a rental. Cover has some slight wear, but still in great shape overall and plays well. Danny DeVito directs this black comedy about a long-married couple in the throes of divorce at the height of the materialistic 1980's, and his second feature far surpasses his first effort, THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN, in style, substance, and comedic impact. Barbara and Oliver Rose were the perfect couple--he was a prominent Washington lawyer, she had a wildly successful catering business, they had a great house, great art, great cars and great kids. But when Barbara begins to wonder about life without Oliver, she likes what she sees and sues for divorce; unfortunately, neither of them likes the prospect of life without their opulent home, and war is waged to determine who will keep it. The pair become increasingly outlandish in their battle tactics, moving from cunning to cruel to outright surreal, and DeVito's camera echoes this mood with its unorthodox angles and movement. DeVito himself narrates the action as Oliver Rose's lawyer, and Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas prove once again their chemistry as a passionately antagonistic couple (ROMANCING THE STONE, JEWEL OF THE NILE).
Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Marianne Sägebrecht, Sean Astin. Very good in very good packaging. Language: English. Run time: 116 mins. Originally released: 1989. ichael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito reunited for a third time to fabulous effect in this dark, disturbing comedy of martial trauma and revenge, which couldn't be more different from their sunnier outings in Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. Douglas and Turner, in career-best performances, are the materialistic, consumer-driven Roses of the title (Oliver and Barbara) whose seemingly perfect marriage has soured beyond repair; their only point of contact, aside from their two college-bound kids, is their meticulously maintained dream house, which Douglas bought and Turner decorated to perfection. When Turner gets a taste of financial independence, she asks Douglas for divorce--all she wants is the house and everything in it (aside from his clothes and shaving kit). He laughs at her and she punches him in the face. Things only get worse from there, as nasty divorce proceedings (with DeVito as Douglas's lawyer) give way to insults, threats, ruined dinner parties, and pet abuse. And through it all, the Roses begin destroying their beloved home and its contents, just to spite each other. DeVito, who also directed, takes Michael Leeson's blacker-than-black screenplay and gives it a hyperstylized spin, complete with skewed camera angles and wonderfully expressionistic cinematography (by Stephen Burum) as Douglas and Turner barricade themselves in their house, both refusing to give an inch. Shocking for a mainstream studio picture, with its unsympathetic protagonists, escalating bitterness, and disturbing finale, Roses is a poisonously funny valentine to both marriage and '80s materialism, tempered only by its framing device as a cautionary tale. Definitely not a date movie. ISBN: 0-7939-1800-6