War of the Roses

     War of the Roses – “Oliver, my father used to say that a man can never outdo a woman when it comes to love and revenge.”  What a deliciously, evil black comedy by Danny DeVito based on the novel by Warren Adler.  A lesser known hit from the late 80’s brings Michael Douglas, whose acting usually leaves me unimpressed, and Kathleen Turner into war with each other as they go through a divorce.  Some great acting and some twisted scenes keep you wondering…what’s next?  And, some great philosophical one liners that every man should pay attention too is delivered by Danny DeVito.  Rated 81% at Rotten Tomatoes and 4.5 stars at Amazon.com, this movie’s a steal.

Plot – Gavin (Danny DeVito) is a divorce attorney with an unnamed client in his office (yes, that’s Dan Castellaneta..aka Homer Simpson).  Before proceeding to filing for divorce, he tells him the story of the Rose’s.  As Gavin begins, we see Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) at an art auction where he meets Barbara (Kathleen Turner).  After a romantic afternoon, they end up spending the night together.  They get married, have kids, and their lives take off.  They get richer and finally get a house that Kathleen has been after for years.  As Oliver works and tries to impress his bosses as a top lawyer, Barbare builds their home.  But, once completed, Barbara loses happiness in her life and grows contempt.  When Oliver is rushed to the hospital for a suspected heart attack (which is really a hiatal hernia), he writes a personal note to her.  However, she doesn’t show to pick him up and he’s upset.  Finally, she tells him he she doesn’t love him anymore and wants a divorce.  Oliver is floored.  In their divorce negotiation, Barbara wants the house because of her efforts.  But, she showed Oliver’s “dying note” and it is used against him, he vows she will never get it.  The war is on and they go to amazing efforts to spite each other.  Gavin, who had been helping Oliver, now suggests he let her have it and get it over with.  Oliver fires him and takes matters into his own hands.  The war hilariously escalates to a pinnacle of bitterness, but once real harm is possible, things back down a bit….But, that doesn’t mean the war is over…..

Commentary –  This film is one of my personal favorites.  I can’t say this is the best film ever, but the creativity of evilness is just something I enjoy.  DeVito is excellent as the friend lawyer that is much wiser as he tells the Rose’s story.  Michael Douglas does a great job as the victim as well as throwing some bitter attacks as well.  Kathleen Turner brilliantly plays on your sympathies and then unleashes her supremely evil attacks on her husband.  Maybe watching Michael Douglas suffer is what I enjoy most.  Frankly, this movie will make you wonder what your husband or wife is planning to do to you.  But, you’ll also be laughing at how they bring them about.  There are a couple of questionable scenes that might be too much for young children, but they are brief.  It’s a “black comedy”.  The more evil they are to each other, the more humorous the film gets.

Trivia – The first assembled cut of the film was 3 hours and 4 minutes before cutting it down to 1 hour and 56 minutes.  Cher was also considered for the role of Barbara Rose.  Frankly, Turner and Douglas had an uncanny chemistry on film from working together on other films.  In the final scene (which I won’t spoil), our favorite actors were in a rather compromising position…So, DeVito pretended to break for lunch leaving them in their precarious situation.  You can only imagine how they felt.

*** Just click the images to check out “War of the Roses” at Amazon.com ***

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2 Comments on “War of the Roses”

  1. oreore says:

    another very classical good movie!
    i wouldn’t question whether you intentionally or unintentionally chose this movie for the blog entry on Valentine’s day 🙂


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