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"Barefoot in the Park" (1967) - Neil Simon's Broadway Adaption Starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda


DonRocks
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A few years ago, I began a project where I was going through all the 1967 Academy Award nominees, because I feel 1967 was a watershed year in film. I had stopped the project, and the reason is "Barefoot in the Park," an adaption of Neil Simon's 1963 Broadway Play.

I've now seen thirteen films that were nominated for various Academy Awards in 1967, and the only one I've seen that's *worse* than this is Dr. Dolittle, which is probably the single worst film ever nominated for Best Picture. At least "Barefoot" only had Mildred Natwick as a nominee for Best Supporting Actress (she didn't win, and she didn't deserve to win - I like Mildred Natwick, but she had nothing to work with here).

I suppose I should say that I have a strong dislike for Jane Fonda (as well as her despicably self-centered, immature character in this) and Neil Simon (who is the single most overrated playwright in history that I can think of).

It isn't hard to guess how this movie might have been marketed: "A joyously flamboyant romp through a spirited, nascent marriage," but it was none of the above (except for nascent) - it just plain sucked. 

The movie is dated, trite, not funny, not charming, stupid, contrived, and only saved (actually, *not* saved) by some decent acting (which is its one, sole virtue) - namely Natwick, Redford, and Boyer. If for any reason you decide to do a 1967 retrospective, do yourself a favor, and save "Barefoot in the Park" and "Dr. Dolittle" for *last* in the off chance that you should get run over by a train before you finish.

"Thoroughly Modern Millie" is much better than this, and that's saying something because that film was pretty awful as well.

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I don't mind a light rom com every now and then, so I thought this film would not be that bad. I was wrong. It was dreadful. Jane Fonda's character was immature and irritating. I was rooting for Redford to leave her.

Redford's acting was fine, and his perforrmance coupled with his good looks made the film tolerable for me. Natwick did as much as she could with her role, but the script was so weak, there was only so much she could do.

The jokes were stale and stupid. I found myself wanting to shout at the screen, "enough with the stairs!"

After viewing the film, I read a few reviews on "Rotten Tomatoes." It has an 87 percent rating, and a lot of people really seem to like it. I don't understand that, unless they are nostalgic for the '60s and enjoy seeing Fonda and Redford at the beginning of their careers.

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On 5/1/2016 at 2:21 AM, DIShGo said:

After viewing the film, I read a few reviews on "Rotten Tomatoes." It has an 87 percent rating, and a lot of people really seem to like it. I don't understand that, unless they are nostalgic for the '60s and enjoy seeing Fonda and Redford at the beginning of their careers.

I just re-read your post, and couldn't believe this film would have an 87-percent rating, so I went over to Rotten Tomatoes, and noticed that the only two negative reviews were written by the first two critics (and perhaps the only two critics) I would read on the page: Dave Kehr and Dennis Schwartz - I don't always agree with these two, but these are generally the people I turn to on Rotten Tomatoes.

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