Case Number 01496


Paramount // 1991 // 115 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // November 5th, 2001

The Charge

He says sex, she says romance.
He says relationship, she says marriage.
He says he won't but she hopes he will.
Luckily they both agree they've fallen in love!

Opening Statement

1991 doesn't seem all that long ago, does it? Yet it's been over a decade since the start of the '90s, and that means that some movies are already hopelessly out of date. What other comedies were released in 1991? Well, there was the John Hughes dud Dutch. Steve Martin starred in his love letter to Los Angeles L.A. Story. And then there was the Blake Edwards comedy Switch starring Ellen Barkin and Jimmy Smits. Boy, after looking at that list maybe 1991 does seem like a long time ago. Another movie released that year was the Elizabeth Perkins/Kevin Bacon romantic comedy He Said, She Said. A supposedly new spin on movie love, He Said, She Said was directed by a man (Ken Kwapis) and a woman (Marisa Silver) into one seamless film. Paramount gives a little love to the viewer with the first ever widescreen release of He Said, She Said on DVD.

Facts of the Case

He Said, She Said is one story told with two different viewpoints: hers and his. Kevin Bacon plays Dan Hanson, an egotistic journalist who really, really likes female companionship. Elizabeth Perkins is Lori Bryer, a fellow journalist who is an intellectual and a hopeless romantic. Both of these writers are forced to share space in the newspaper The Baltimore Sun on a op-ed piece. After their column is a hit, they're moved onto television where their spot is also a smash, never more so than when the two are sparring (including Lori bouncing a coffee cup off of Dan's head on-air). Throughout the movie we see how the two met, became a couple, broke up, got back cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Part of the film is told from "his" perspective, the other by "hers."

Romance can blossom any old time...even if it's between a conservative and a liberal on live TV.

The Evidence

I'll always be the first to admit if I not a fan of a certain genre of film. I can usually pass on westerns. Kung-fu movies that don't star Jackie Chan are usually not high on my "to see" list. And usually I am not a huge fan of romantic comedies unless I have someone sitting next to me who plans on swapping spit after the feature is done. It's not that I'm not a romantic or that I don't enjoy the sentimentality -- it's mostly that I usually don't find romantic comedies to be all that humorous. In fact, sitting here and thinking off the top of my head, I can't recall one romantic comedy that really made me laugh out loud (and yes, When Harry Met Sally was funny, but to me it wasn't that funny). Maybe I'm just a hard-edged cynic who's lost his faith in the ever-healing power of love. Or, maybe I'm just a typical guy who'd rather watch aliens attack the White House.

He Said, She Said won't win me over as a romantic comedy. While I thought there were some cute parts in the film, I just didn't think it was all that funny. In the romance department there's enough there to keep even Dr. Ruth happy; Bacon and Perkins make goo-goo eyes at each other a lot, and there are a batch of scenes that take place at cute cafes and in the safety of a well lit bedroom at night. Unfortunately, I just didn't think these scenes really added up to much. Perkins and Bacon look as if they have a genuine spark going, but the script they're playing off of doesn't. A few scenes made me chuckle, including a dinner scene where Bacon's character imagines that the menu is filled with such items as "monogamy," "marriage," and "sex." But, these scenes seemed to be few and far between. Mostly we're treated to sweet images of Dan and Lori moving in together while it's raining, and the two lovebirds fixing breakfast together.

Everyone say it with me..."awwwwwwww, ain't that just darlin'?"

Personally, I couldn't tell the difference between the scenes Marisa Silvers directed and the ones Ken Kwapis directed. He Said, She Said felt as if it was possibly a rejected script that John Hughes wrote right after he penned She's Having A Baby. This could also be because Kevin Bacon was in that snoozer as well. If anything saves this movie from being completely mundane, it's the inclusion of Nathan Lane and Sharon Stone. Before they became Hollywood superstars (well, okay...maybe Lane isn't a superstar) they were in drivel such as this. Stone plays a sexy, high class (surprise) ex-girlfriend and Lane a panicky (surprise deux) TV worker who is always worried about something.

Maybe He Said, She Said might have worked better if I hadn't watched it alone...during the 2:00 in the afternoon...while eating out of a box of Apple my boxers. Perhaps if I'd had a box of Corn Pops it would have made all the difference in the world. The sad truth is we'll never know for sure.

He Said, She Said is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. As a side note, it seems like you don't see a lot of comedies presented in 2.35:1 all that often. Paramount has done a very nice job on this transfer, making sure that the colors and black levels are all even and well rendered. While some of the scenes tended to look slightly soft (with some edge enhancement present), overall this is a decent looking transfer.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround as well as Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (and French Stereo). This new Dolby Digital 5.1 remix is above average, utilizing mostly background noises in all the speakers. There were a few spots with effects used directionally, but mostly this soundtrack is subdued and soft (which isn't surprising seeing as this is a dialogue driven comedy). All aspects of the effects, dialogue, and Miles Goodman's sickeningly sweet music score are clear and distortion free. Also included on this disc are English subtitles.

He Said, She Said is very low on supplements, though surprisingly there is an audio commentary by directors Ken Kwapis and Marisa Silver, writer Brian Hohlfeld, and cinematographer Stephen H. Burum. Since this is a fairly large group the commentary tends to move quickly with minimal gaps during the film. All parties seem to have something to contribute, and each seem pleased with the final cut of the film. Also included on this edition is an anamorphic widescreen theatrical trailer.

Closing Statement

Priced slightly high, I don't think I can recommend He Said, She Said unless you've seen the movie and really enjoyed it. Couples may like seeing this movie together, and then having a big discussion about their relationship afterwards (She: "Why don't YOU say I love you more often?" He: "But I...well, I uh...because...hey, I wanted to rent Hard Rain!"). While Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Perkins do fine in the leads, I just didn't find this movie overly romantic or very funny. Paramount has done a nice job on the disc though, and the inclusion of a commentary track should make fans fairly happy.

The Verdict

He Said, She Said is sentenced to couples counseling...Paramount is free to go! Case dismissed!

Review content copyright © 2001 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 90
Audio: 85
Extras: 65
Acting: 83
Story: 68
Judgment: 68

Perp Profile
Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)

* English

Running Time: 115 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Theatrical Trailer
* Audio Commentary by Directors Ken Kwapis and Marisa Silver, Writer Brian Hohlfeld, and Cinematographer Stephen H. Burum

* IMDb