Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin make Housesitter worth sitting through. While no Hepburn and Tracy, the pair still transform this overly contrived screwball romp into an inspired game of charades. [12 July 1992, p.4D]
For a romantic comedy, there's little in the way of romance, but the film's strength lies in the escalating lies concocted by Gwen as she struggles to maintain a toehold on her new life. Although it doesn't add up to a whole, and screenwriter Mark Stein fudges the issue of Gwen's motivation, he does provide some very funny, cheerfully contrived scams.
The most interesting aspect -- the only interesting aspect, really -- of Housesitter's creaky script is the concept of the psychopathic liar, as played by Hawn, who can invent whole life stories under pressure. It's the film's central conceit that the capacity to delude others with long and preposterous fabrications is the one sure sign of character. [12 June 1992, p.G7]
Too much of the film seems unfinished. Almost every four scenes could be condensed into one. The comedy doesn't build to any climax. It just rolls on, with Ms. Hawn doggedly working to create some sense of oddball fun. The characters, as written, are as flimsy as Newton's dream house, which, even though based on a House Beautiful award-winning design, looks less habitable than a billboard. Even its brand-new furnishings are tacky.