4.5 out of 5
Not that I don’t like romantic comedies. I swear upon How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, as well as Pretty Woman, and many other Nora Ephron’s films. But recently the genre has been tarnished by *gasp!* What’s Your Number?, Bride Wars, any film by Katherine Heigl, or Jennifer Aniston. I felt tremendously happy when I flipped the television channel and found out there was Designing Woman playing.The film was directed by Vincente Minelli and released in 1957. Minelli, by his name it is obvious that he is the father of Liza Minelli, directed many classical films such as the original Father of the Bride, Kismet, Gigi, The Reluctant Debutante (which many years later was remade into the bland What A Girl Wants, starring Amanda Bynes). I wasn’t even sure if the term romantic comedy had even been coined at that time, but it didn’t matter as long as the story is funny and original.
It is the story of Marilla, a designer, and Mike, a sports journalist. They met while vacationing in Brazil and fell in love (which was totally meant to be since Marilla was played by the beautiful Lauren Bacall and Mike was played by the handsome Gregory Peck). They get married and of course, troubles started to bang on the front door. Marilla and Mike truly didn’t have anything in common. Marilla thrived in an artistic environment, while Mike was a down-to-earth guy who enjoyed watching boxing matches. Every single day they tried to tolerate each other’s habit, until one day a mobster was looking for Mike. He threatened Mike for exposing a crooked boxing promoter in his articles. Mike had to hide to protect his life, meaning he’d have to invent string of lies to Marilla who was already suspicious of him cheating.
The film script won an Academy Award for best screen play, and it is shown in the quality of the story. Albeit very light, Designing Woman is also intelligent. The film is peppered by inner monologues from the main characters, expressing their deepest thoughts and feelings. The dialogues are just witty and sharp, pinpointing at the annoying troubles every couple have and runaway from in a relationship. The supporting characters such as Zachary the theatre manager, Shannon the actress, and Maxie the foolish boxer add extra flavours to the story. They are not just some mere sidekicks, they also carry the story with their own individual charm. This is a film that stands on its own and should not ever ever ever be made into a new adaptation.