An attempt to evoke the style of old '40s battle-of-the-sexes comedies, and specifically the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy films, "He Said, She Said" has the look, the music - maybe even the stars. But it lacks the one element needed most - a clever script.
"He Said, She Said" is also a gimmick movie, with the first third taking his viewpoint, the second rehashing some of the same scenes from her viewpoint and each being directed by different people - Ken Kwapis ("Vibes") and Marisa Silver ("Permanent Record"), respectively. (The film's final third simply wraps things up.)The script, however, is by one person - first-time screenwriter Brian Hohlfeld. He could have used some help.
Elizabeth Perkins and Kevin Bacon are the couple in question. The film opens with their popular segment on a local Baltimore news program, which is called "He Said, She Said." It's a play on the old "60 Minutes" "Point/Counterpoint" segment, with Perkins taking the liberal point of view on local issues while Bacon takes the conservative view.
As the film opens, their on-camera tangle ends with Perkins throwing a cup and bonking Bacon on the noggin. That leads to both parties going their separate ways, discussing their woes with others and thus providing us with flashbacks to tell the story of how they met as reporters on a Baltimore newspaper and unintentionally began their professional battling-opinions relationship.
Naturally, this also leads to a personal relationship as womanizing Bacon meets his match in perky Perkins.
Oddly, though both characters are played as fairly broad stereotypes, Bacon's viewpoint tends to show Perkins as a much more sensible, less manipulative person than her own viewpoint. And when scenes are shown a second time, supposedly the way Perkins sees things, they really aren't all that different.
Maybe the screenplay as well as the direction should have been by a man and a woman together.
In any event, despite the glossy cinematography, bright set design and lush background music, the problems here have to do with the script not being very funny, the players treating this lightweight material as if it's very deep indeed and a bevy of interesting supporting characters being so woefully underdeveloped.
To their credit, Perkins and Bacon try very hard to liven things up, though to little avail; the supporting player who gets the best treatment is Sharon Stone as an old girlfriend of Bacon's.
"He Said, She Said" is rated PG-13 for sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity and comic violence, though it would seem to be in R-rated territory.