A New Kind Of Love Melville Shavelson

I have no idea what possessed Paramount to dig this 1963 nonentity out of the back of their vaults, but who really cares? Whatever its limitations as cinema, it nicely does the trick in the department of retro-kitsch. Joanne Woodward is an uptight fashion buyer in Paris to steal chic designs; Paul Newman is an irresponsible journalist exiled from America for diddling his boss's wife. Thus the stage is set for a battle-of-the-sexes romp in the Doris Day/Rock Hudson vein, in which Woodward must succumb to a more feminine presentation and Newman must give up his confirmed-bachelor status in order to win her. Of course, the plot is largely secondary to the absurdly garish soundstage version of Paris — somehow elegant and overblown at the same time — which seldom goes outdoors and relies on more rear projections than previously thought possible in a motion picture. Admittedly the décor and the costumes aren't the only retro elements: the simian sexual politics are a regular nuisance, with Woodward enduring constant abuse for looking mannish (she's dressed like a member of the Hives) and Newman narrating condescendingly about her old-maid status. But where this limits the film on its own terms (and causes it to lose momentum in the increasingly ridiculous third act), it only enhances its camp appeal: the attitudes are as quaint and absurd as the flaming artificial colours and the overripe, witty banter. Genius it's not, but every time your interest flags they win you over with some nutty fantasy sequence or say something no human being would ever say, making you rub your eyes and check your ears to make sure that you're not hallucinating. LSD addicts have found their methadone; this movie is better than drugs. (Paramount)