We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
It is an old truth of acting that comedy is harder than tragedy.
It may be true. It is certainly true that much of the humor in "Housesitter" is generated by the carefully modulated performances of Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn. Their relationship is made of nuances and denials, and at any moment they could have brought the movie tumbling down to the level of a sitcom, but they never do.
The film fits broadly into that old category of romances about people who don't know they're falling in love with one another. They think they dislike each other, in fact - but we know better. The formula is usually a drone because the characters have to be unusually stupid to avoid realizing they're in love. But Mark Stein's screenplay for "Housesitter" avoids that trap by adding a whole additional level to the story: Both of these characters are lying most of the time, deliberately, and although they both know it, the lies mask their real feelings.
Martin plays Newt Davis, an architect who has designed his dream house and in the opening credits asks his childhood sweetheart (Dana Delaney) if she will marry him and move into it. She says she will not. Heartbroken, he blurts out his sorrows one boozy night to a waitress named Gwen (Goldie Hawn), whose last name and most of the other facts about her are much in doubt during the film.