Odd, Uneven Frolic

This film starts off by showing woman shoppers as a stampede entering a shop as it opens, complete with animal noises on the soundtrack and Paul Newman on the soundtrack explaining how this skewed perspective of his reflects his feelings toward Joanne Woodward. Odd flights of fantasy like this are sprinkled throughout the film, and while I was put off a bit by the stereotyping and double-standards - this was after all released in 1963 - I got my hopes up about the film and its sense of humor.

Newman is this hard-edged womanizing newspaper slacker and Woodward is the hard-edged career-minded gal who gave up on love, and is continually mistaken for a man. Of course, they're due to get mixed up with each other, and challenge each other's perceptions of the world.

The problem is that the character development is entirely too shallow, especially for such a familiar theme. Stereotypes only really go so far, and while you can get away with making jokes off them, the setup here depends on us believing the characters. Perhaps it's not too surprising that it's the woman character that is drawn with the least imagination - more or less a commentary on the times. Our newspaperman doesn't fare much better, but at least gives us a chance to believe some of the character arc.

If you can forgive the film for not living up to its storyline, taking in the fun, spirited jokes can be a pretty good experience. It's at least consistent in its ambitions.

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