Big Business (1988)

JIM ABRAHAMS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA, 1988.  Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners III.  Screenplay by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Despite terrific performances and some clever camera tricks, this film is never really more than a collection of hammy situations around a one-joke premise. Two sets of twin sisters are mixed up at birth when a rich New York couple travelling through the south go into labour during their road trip and their babies are born at the same time as a farming couple, who also have twins. Thirty years later, Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin are the heads of a huge New York City corporation, while the other Midler and Tomlin live in a tiny farming town that is being threatened by that same corporation. The farm girls plan a trip to the Big Apple to protest the destruction of their homes, and in doing so end up in the same hotel and same floor as their sisters. Midler and Tomlin have no end of fun with their double parts, and some of the comedy really is inspired, but it’s just not witty enough.  The scene where the sisters finally meet is lifted right out of Duck Soup to great effect.

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