He Said, She Said
Basically Desk Set meets Rashomon, the High Gimmick comedy He Said, She Said shows both the male and the female perspectives on the same relationship. It’s cinema as towel rack, from its his ‘n’ hers story lines (his version impolitely first, hers second) to its his ‘n’ hers directors (Ken Kwapis and Marisa Silver). In fact, as the story of battling TV journalists Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Perkins unfolds, the script is evenhandedly superficial and verminous with cliches. Bacon does what he can as the guy, but there is only so much that can be done to animate a stick figure. Men, it seems by this account, are permanent adolescents armed with moldy pickup lines, reactionary politics, an inability to dance, and a fear of commitment. Bacon does a lot of smirking, for which he admittedly has a rare talent. It’s not that you want the character to get all tremulous and cry; you just wish he came with a third dimension. Luc Sante’s grade: C
It seems men and women don’t speak the same language. All right, it’s not exactly headline news. Still, it’s a cute enough idea for a movie. So why does He Said, She Said play so uncute, when, as the video sleeve has it, this is supposed to be a ”story of love. Both versions”? Elizabeth Perkins does what she can as the girl, but there’s only so much that can be done in a stereotype straitjacket. To her great credit, she can almost make you forget that this is taking place in Clichéland, and that her character is just a Venus flytrap. Come on; in 1991?
As a journalist, she’s got truckloads of talent, and as a female, she’s only prone to the same paranoia anyone would feel when her boyfriend, in flagrante delicto, murmurs the name of his ex (a perfect argument for bringing back the stockade). Finally, with her utterly engaging smile, she shouldn’t have to wait a whole movie to hear some simple words from him. She should have tossed him out long before she did. And not let him back. To borrow the movie’s truest line: That’s the way I see it. Melissa Pierson’s grade: B-