The Woman in Red (1984)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Farce, Sex Comedy  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Nathan Southern

Gene Wilder wrote, directed and starred in this lightweight but breezy and satisfying sex farce, a loose remake of Yves Robert's Pardon Mon Affaire. It's essentially an '80s update of 10, or if you prefer, The Seven Year Itch, with a married ad executive (Wilder) chasing a svelte model (Kelly Le Brock) and attempting to woo her into bed. One wishes that the denouement were braver - like the Blake Edwards and Billy Wilder films, it peters out in favor of a soft, audience-pleasing resolution that seems to deny the material's darker impulses; and at barely feature length, the picture needs to be longer and more substantive than it is. But there are great pleasures to be had here, including several hilarious set-ups, relatable situations, and first-rate comedic performances from Wilder, LeBrock, and a supporting cast that includes Joe Bologna, Charles Grodin, and Michael Huddleston as Wilder's male buddies. Gilda Radner also does extraordinary work, as a secretary who gets accidentally snubbed and goes on the warpath. Amid the laughs, Wilder interpolates an interesting non-comedic subplot, involving one character's implicit gay relationship with a young lover, that adds some texture and dimension to what could have otherwise been a more routine farce. Though not a perfect film, The Woman in Red is quite enjoyable, and miles ahead of Wilder's work in Haunted Honeymoon, The World's Greatest Lover, and the abominable Sunday Lovers.