Tied up at the office
Tied up at the office

Glass Ceilings

At first re-watch, there's something a little quaint and a lot dated about 9 to 5: the sculpted hairdos, the mechanical chug of electric typewriters the size of most economy cars. And then you realize the overwhelming 1980-ness of it all is exactly what makes the film work, both back then—when a screwball comedy about very real issues of inequality in the workplace was saying things that really need to be said—and now, where it's a hell of a sassy snapshot of days (and wardrobes) thankfully gone by. (Okay, fine, Lily Tomlin's ubiquitous black kimono jacket is actually quite cool.)

Directed and co-written by Colin Higgins (who also wrote Harold and Maude, i.e. only the greatest movie of all time—fact!), 9 to 5's premise—three secretaries entertain revenge fantasies against their dickhead boss, only to be pushed so far that they decide to teach him a lesson for real—is the sort that even when carefully crafted and smart as can be (and Higgins' script is very good), it still needs the right actors to make it fly. And it gets them: Tomlin, fully flexing her smart-ass as long-suffering Violet (and how about that Snow White parody sequence?! Legend!); Jane Fonda, convincingly, WASP-ily naive as divorced housewife Judy; and Dolly Parton as Southern belle Doralee, who, by simply being Dolly, is perfectly cast. Add to that mix the great Dabney Coleman as their nemesis, the sexist, egotistical, lying—oh, you saw the title!—and it's magic. A commentary with the actresses and producer Bruce Gilbert, as well as a 25-year retrospective and a howler of a gag reel make for a top-notch package. (By the way, no one will laugh if you're caught singing along with the "Nine to Five" karaoke feature. You know you're going to. Don't lie.)

Also recommended this week: Brokeback Mountain; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe: Collector's Edition; The Long Good Friday; Mona Lisa; Patton Oswalt: No Reason to Complain; The Pedro Almodovar Collection; The Story of Qiu-Ju.


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