Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1980. IPC Films, Twentieth Century Fox. Story by Patricia Resnick, Screenplay by Colin Higgins, Patricia Resnick. Cinematography by Reynaldo Villalobos.Produced by Bruce Gilbert. Music by Charles Fox. Production Design by Dean Edward Mitzner. Costume Design by Ann Roth. Film Editing by Pembroke J. Herring. Academy Awards 1980. Golden Globe Awards 1980.
Jane Fonda plays a shy, repressed divorcee (yeah, right) who gets her very first job as a clerk at a financial company. She immediately befriends her no-nonsense, hard-working supervisor (Lily Tomlin), an employee who is constantly being overlooked for promotion by their sexist boss (Dabney Coleman) because of her gender, despite the fact that she actually trained him in his position. Coleman’s secretary (Dolly Parton in her film debut) eventually grows tired of the unfair rumours he has been spreading about their fictitious affair, and she joins the fed-up Tomlin and newly feminized Fonda in an effort to get revenge on the Man. The events that follow are silly beyond belief, but there are secret political time bombs cleverly hidden everywhere that make the film far weightier than you would originally think. Writer-director Colin Higgins (most famous for writing Harold And Maude) taps into these women’s frustrations, desires, even fantasies, a hilarious roller-coaster ride that provides a full two hours’ worth of entertainment. Fonda, besides being completely unbelievable as a naive woman, is completely outshone by her co-stars, Tomlin providing the energy and Parton providing the zest in one of the most critically acclaimed film debuts in decades (just watch the part where she tells Coleman she’s going to turn him from a rooster into a hen, it’s fantastic). Topped off by Parton’s Oscar-nominated, toe-tapping theme song that hasn’t gone away ever since.