‘Housesitter’

‘Housesitter’(1992) is one of those you’ve got to watch it as an artefact from the past kind of films, a document of its time. The plot is the usual ‘light comedy’ Hollywood love triangle, a romantic mix up of identities that’s straight out of an Oscar Wilde play.

This time it’s Newton Davis the uptight architect (Steve Martin... what a run of Hollywood success he had) and Gwen Duncle (Goldie Hawn being Goldie Hawn... the adorably sassy and cute-but-annoying love interest). Here she’s pretending to be Newton’s wife after they have a one night stand. She leaves the city and stages a takeover of his country house and impresses herself on his family and ex-girlfriend, persuading them that Newton is madly in love with her and that they have had a shotgun marriage (a kind of Holly Golightly in reverse).

The moral of the story is: living a life of crazy bullshit is better than not feeling alive. Thematically it’s a kind of ‘Cinderella’ story where Gwen’s bullshit replaces the fairy godmother’s magic. There’s reality and illusion, a class divide (middle class architect meets working class waitress who is also an orphan), the American dream, and Howard’s inability to get over his ex. The American dream is attainable through a magical discovery process that Gwen initiates through her fantastic stories. They can have the dream and become transformed in the process, each one making the other a better and a more complete person. Success is its own kind of alchemy and bluster will win the day for anyone audacious enough to try it. Cut to shot of Howard and Gwen kissing and loud uplifting music.