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‘He Said, She Said’

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 22, 1991


Ken Kwapis;
Marisa Silver
Kevin Bacon;
Elizabeth Perkins;
Sharon Stone;
Nathan Lane;
Anthony LaPaglia

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Kevin Bacon has the first word and Elizabeth Perkins the last in "He Said, She Said," the filmmakers' answer to his and hers towels. A yuppie "Rashomon" of sorts, it is a twice-told tale of how two Baltimore Sun columnists meet, break up and regain true love. But boys and girls are different and so it seems is the way they perceive amour -- ergo this relentlessly breezy romance from directors and real-life patooties Marisa Silver and Ken Kwapis.

Dan (Bacon) is first with his version of how he met Lorie (Perkins), who is promised the same columnist's job at the newspaper. The friendly competition between them soon results not only in side-by-side columns, "He Said" and "She Said," but a blooming romantic involvement. Alas, Dan fears the commitment that Lorie demands from him and the couple have a public breakup on their newly successful TV show.

Kwapis, who directed this half of the story, turns the camera over to Silver as Dan hands off the baton to his attractive opposite. Aside from their adverse styles -- she's a liberal-minded journalist, he's an old-hat newspaper man -- they differ in their ability to share. "If you can't express your feelings, what is the point of having them?" wonders Lorie when faced with Dan's emotional constipation.

There are slight inconsistencies in their stories, but none significant enough to inform, amuse or reward an audience. Perhaps that's because the entire screenplay was written by a relative novice -- Brian Hohlfeld, who played the voice of Daddy Dodo in Kwapis's "Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird." Why play all these gender games and allow Hohlfeld to write both halves of the story? Where, we have to wonder, was Mommy Dodo when Daddy was laying this egg?

With its sitcom score and its awful supporting cast of hambones and camera-muggers, the movie is poorly executed on many levels. The shame of it is that Perkins and Bacon seem so comfortable together, recalling those plucky Hollywood pairs of the '40s upon which the characters were modeled. All in all though, "He Said, She Said" reminds you of those couples who wear matching outfits on their honeymoon. You feel embarrassed for them.

"He Said, She Said" is rated PG-13 for sensuality.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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