Melville Shavelson‘s THE WAR BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN is a 1972 comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Barbara Harris. Based on the stories of American cartoonist James Thurber, the film makes use of animated events to illustrate scenes and internal feelings of the main character. The plot is not complex, and it could have been; however, it is an enjoyable film and a great fit for those who enjoy abrasive and misogynistic era humor.
Peter Wilson (Lemmon) is a cartoonist who is passionate about his work and message. He detests dogs, women and children perhaps more than anything in the world. Successfully avoiding commitment for years, he meets a bookseller named Theresa/Terri (Harris) while at the office of his eye surgeon. Beginning to like her, he then discovers she is a divorcee with three children and a dog. The waters of their relationship were choppy from the start, but now they must navigate through Peter’s worsening eyesight, different lifestyles, and Terri’s ex-husband Stephen (Jason Roberts).
THE WAR BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN is a definite 70s level comedy that uses an extreme form of expression to insult groups of people (women)–to include sexist cartoons for emphasis. There are scenes involving Peter and her three children are charming early in the film, but later there is one where he makes fun of the younger daughter with a stuttering impairment.
If two quirky Manhattanites, one a grouchy cartoonist and the other a single mother can find love then the possibilities for finding “the one” are endless.
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