After watching The War of the Roses, it’s not surprising to learn that over half of all marriages end in divorce. Why be depressed and repressed when you can be a ‘swinger’ or a ‘wedding crasher’? The War of the Roses doesn’t encourage us to avoid marriage, instead making us more aware of the consequences of making the wrong choices.
Prone to starring in films that involve unstable and headstrong women (Disclosure, Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction) Michael Douglas once again sets himself up for a fight against the opposite sex. This time his sparring partner comes in the guise of Kathleen Turner. After an initial honeymoon period in their marriage, Oliver (Douglas) and Barbara (Turner) grow to despise each other. This leads to a series of attempts made by both parties to force the other out of the house and consequently out of each other’s lives.
The War of the Roses is black comedy at its best. Danny De Vito, who takes on the role of director here, does a fine job of lightening a downhearted subject matter such as divorce, turning it into something thoroughly entertaining. After appearing in three films together, Douglas and Turner don’t struggle on the chemistry front, but the screenplay is where the film excels. The writing is smart and sharply funny. De Vito is a funny guy, so it’s expected for him to come up with something humorous and he doesn’t disappoint.
The sequence of events may seem to some as petty and childish, but when there’s so much at stake, people can be driven to the brink of sanity. Peeing on the fish due to be served at a lavish dinner party is just one example of how a man, when pushed to the edge, can be capable of doing anything.