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By Admin | November 16, 2002

If you watch “The Jerry Springer Show,” beware, because this could happen to you. Don (Bob Mills) is the very definition of a loser. A swap meet junkie and toy action figure collector, this redneck Terry Bradshaw lookalike — wait, that’s redundant — this mean and stupid redneck Terry Bradshaw lookalike spends the bulk of his time drinking beer and getting stoned. Small wonder that his forklift-driving wife Donatella (Petra Westan), no mental giant herself, wants nothing more than to be rid of this foul-mouthed moron. Although Don shares this feeling, about the only thing they agree on, they must still endure two weeks under the same decrepit roof until their divorce hearing. So, Don decides to expedite the separation by building a crude wall in the middle of the house, enraging his estranged wife. Like some sort of miniature Berlin Wall, this sheet rock barrier keeps Donatella and her overbearing lesbian lover Marion (Tacey Adams) on one side of the house, while Don and an obnoxious coterie of beer-chugging, Lynard Skynard-listening trailer park rejects holds court on the other. Although the makeshift wall — modified with a doggie door to allow their scarred-for-life son egress to either domain — keeps them separated, it only exacerbates the dueling spouses’ war of nerves.
It’s a dangerously escalating guerrilla campaign that will either kill them, or bring them closer together again. Oh, did I mention that this is a comedy? A very dark one, to be sure, as domestic strife is rarely amusing… unless you happen to be viewing the aforementioned Springer circus. Fortunately, Frank Novak’s film, the winner of the Slamdance Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Film, generally works because it never takes itself all that seriously. This also helps justify the film’s out-of-the-blue ending, which borders on the incredulous, to say the least. Although “Good Housekeeping” hits the ground running, sucking you right into this distasteful melodrama like the unfortunate cops who keep getting called to the house, this doesn’t give it a whole lot of room to ramp up its intensity. Further, the occasional handheld sequences, probably intended to give it an edgy, “you are there” feel, instead just make it look cheap. Nonetheless, in spite of “Good Housekeeping’s” unsavory characters and WWF mentality, this white trash “War of the Roses” is a surprisingly engaging film.

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