Women vs. Men (2002)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Domestic Comedy, Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Josh Ralske

Women vs. Men has a fine cast, starring Joe Mantegna and Christine Lahti as a battling couple. It also features comedically talented supporting actors like Glenne Headly, Robert Pastorelli, and Jennifer Coolidge (Best in Show). Perhaps the presence of Paul Reiser, who hasn't appeared in a genuinely good movie since Aliens in 1986, should tip potential viewers off. Women vs. Men starts out like some ungodly mix of David Mamet's clipped speech patterns and foul language (but not his wit or his ear) with the banal, sitcom-level relationship insights and dull domesticity of Neil Simon at his absolute worst. Chazz Palminteri, who directed, gets reasonably good performances from the cast, but the script has everyone speaking in pretty much the same overwritten, obscenity-laden generalities, which doesn't leave a lot of room for differentiating individual characters. Michael (Mantegna) and Bruce (Reiser) are pretty much interchangeable, while Brita (Headly) is distinguishable from Dana (Lahti) only in that she sporadically gives Psych 101 explanations for the other characters' behavior. The film devolves from vulgar but essentially trite Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus analyses of male and female behavior to genuinely offensive sexism in the conclusions it draws. Michael and Bruce may be insensitive dolts, the film seems to posit, but their marital woes are really the fault of their wives, who are insufficiently affectionate toward them.