Barefoot in the Park
- Robert Redford as Paul Bratter
- Jane Fonda as Corie Bratter
- Charles Boyer as Victor Velasco
- Mildred Natwick as Ethel Banks
A witty and breezy comedy about a newly married couple who are complete opposites, Barefoot in the Park bristles with humour and charm as we watch a picture of domesticated bliss gone amusingly awry. Sure, some of it is quite dated when viewed now, but the chemistry between Robert Redford and Jane Fonda combines with a laugh-filled script makes it enjoyable.
Proper Paul and fun-loving Corie Bratter have recently married and they move into an apartment in Greenwich Village. Yet the apartment is far from a dream home, mainly because of the five stories of stairs that need to be climbed to reach it. It is here that we see how different the newlyweds are in terms of their personalities and ideas. On one hand, Paul is an uptight and straight-laced young lawyer, while Corie is an effervescent free spirit who is willing to try anything. The apartment has a hole in the ceiling which renders the place freezing, crammed space and their aging womanizing neighbour Victor Velasco must come through their apartment to reach his one on the floor above. Paul hates all these things about their new home, but the adventurous Corie sees them as quaint and very nice. Already a wedge has been drove between them as they begin to see that wedded life can be complicated indeed. To add to this, Corie’s sarcastic mother Ethel comes by to view the place. The romantic Corie tries to set her mother up with Velasco as she feels she is lonely. And after a wild night out had by all of them, it is time for Paul and Corie to see if their marriage is going to last or not. The newlyweds begin to see that marriage is not a bed of roses and that they are particularly different which does lead to arguments and maybe a possible divorce. Watch as personalities clash and misunderstandings between the mismatched couple cause fireworks and plenty of laughs.
Director Gene Saks gives Barefoot in the Park that breezy quality that suits the brisk pace and various antics that occur in the piece. He is given extra help by Neil Simon’s script from his own stage play that just cracks with humour and wit as Paul and Corie enter into marriage and witness the fact that their personalities are somewhat incompatible. Comic interludes are ever-present in this film and while some of it may be a trifle dated, it still doesn’t fail to raise a smile or a laugh. There is kookiness to the proceedings that gives the film a verve when the plot meanders on occasion. A lively, romantic score tinged with a good old jaunty rhythm is the perfect musical accompaniment to this funny tale of marital disharmony.
Barefoot in the Park gains an added spark from a game cast who perform excellently with the confines of comedy. Robert Redford is delightfully uptight as the respectable Paul, who doesn’t seem to know how to live a little and let his hair down. Redford brings a whole lot of charisma and some priceless facial expressions to the film that are bound to conjure laughs. Jane Fonda is his comedic foil in the part of Corie, who lives for the moment and is kittenish to say the least. Fonda is a natural at playing this, and giving it a sexy edge. The chemistry between the two is believable, abrasive and caustic, which only adds to the many incidents that befall them. The colourful supporting roles are filled with style and considerable talent by Charles Boyer as the old but still hungry for life fox and Mildred Natwick as the sarcastic and self-doubting mother.
Scintillating chemistry, humour and talent make Barefoot in the Park a guarantee to put a smile on your face and a breezy way to spend an hour or two.