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Promotional one-sheet poster.
Directed by Frank Oz
Produced by Brian Grazer
Written by Mark Stein (story & screenplay)
Brian Grazer (story)
Starring Steve Martin
Goldie Hawn
Dana Delany
Julie Harris
Donald Moffat
Peter MacNicol
Music by Miles Goodman
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Editing by John Jympson
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) June 12, 1992
Running time 102 min. (approx.)
Country United States
Language English

HouseSitter is a 1992 romantic comedy directed by Frank Oz, written by Mark Stein and starring Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn and Dana Delany. The premise involves a woman with con-artist tendencies who worms her way into the life of a reserved architect by claiming to be his wife.



Newton Davis (Steve Martin) is a struggling architect. After building his dream house for himself and his longtime girlfriend Becky (Dana Delany), he is crushed when she refuses to marry him. He is unable to bring himself to live in the house, and leaves it abandoned and with a debt he cannot afford.

Some time later, Newton meets a waitress named Gwen Phillips (Goldie Hawn) at a Hungarian restaurant. Believing that she cannot speak English, he spills out his sob story about Becky and the abandoned house. After the restaurant closes, Newton learns that she merely pretended to be Hungarian. They spend some time talking and end up spending the night together.

The next morning, Gwen finds that Newton has left in the middle of the night. However, he unintentionally left behind the drawing of the house he'd built for Becky. Piqued by the drawing, Gwen decides to take a bus ride out to see the house. She is charmed by it, and decides to take up residence in the empty domicile. Needing groceries, Gwen goes to town's convenience store, where charges her groceries to the "Newton Davis" account. When questioned about this, Gwen, who it becomes clear is a natural liar, says that she is Newton's wife.

Gwen meets Becky, and spins a lengthy romantic story about how they fell in love, which impresses Becky. Gwen also meets Newton's parents, who are heartbroken that Newton got "married" without telling them, but Gwen also manages to smooth things over believably with her charm.

One day, Newton travels to his hometown and is shocked to see that his house is lived in. When he finds out what Gwen has done he is initially furious, but he soon sees the potential in her being there. Gwen starts creating all sorts of opportunities for Newton: mending his relationship with his parents, helping out with his career and making Becky jealous. Newton and Gwen come to an agreement in which Gwen will help Newton get Becky, and in return she'll get all the furniture in the house.

Through their time together Newton begins to rely more on Gwen beyond their agreement, and Gwen starts to feel attached to her life with Newton. It is also revealed that Gwen became a compulsive liar in order to escape from what she feels is her own inadequacy, and that she has "changed" her life numerous times.

The film culminates with a reception held at the house in which the sub-plots of Newton's career, family and affections for Becky are brought together. Jealous of Becky, Gwen confronts her in front of everyone, accusing her of trying to win Newton back. Gwen storms out of the house in tears, and Newton follows her, thinking it is still part of the plan. Outside alone, Newton praises Gwen for her brilliance, but Gwen replies that she wanted their marriage to work. Newton watches, confused, as Gwen leaves. Becky takes the opportunity to comfort Newton, and asks him whether all of Gwen's stories were real. Newton answers that they were all true, and chases after Gwen.

Newton stops Gwen as she is about to board a bus to leave town. Although she resists, Newton follows her example and begins telling an outlandish romantic story of something they supposedly did, which makes Gwen decide to stay. The film ends on the note of Newton and Gwen being happily married and living together in the house. The final spoken words are of Newton saying "I love you, Gwen" and Gwen replying, "Actually, it's Jessica."



According to the house was designed by New York architects Trumbull & Associates. Furthermore Christopher Lukenbeal's 1995 master's thesis 'A Geography in Film, A Geography of Film' cites Debra Wassman of Trumbull: 'the house is the real star of the film'.

Blueprints are available through Princeton Plans Press.

The role of Gwen Phillips was initially offered to Meg Ryan, who pulled out from the movie due to her pregnacy. After Ryan passed out from the project, the producers wanted Kim Basinger for the role of Gwen Phillips. However, Basinger also declined. As a result, Goldie Hawn was eventually cast as Gwen Phillips.

Release and response

The film premiered in theatres on June 12, 1992 and performed reasonably well for a low-key comedy film. It earned $9,106,950 on its opening weekend and $58,500,635 for its entire theatrical run.[1]

The film was released on DVD on July 22, 1998, but contains no substantial extras.


  1. ^ HouseSitter at

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