1988 / Director. Mike Nichols.
Review by Jarret Gahan.
Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) is struggling to make her mark on the world of big business in New York City. She's a loyal, hardworking, bubbly yet intelligent secretary who is seemingly always overlooked for promotion. However opportunity presents itself when her ruthlessly manipulative boss Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver) is injured overseas in a bizarre skiing accident. Tasked with tending to her boss's responsibilities in and out of the office, Tess stumbles upon the fact that Katherine had intended to take credit for a business proposition that Tess herself had conceived. Armed with this knowledge along with an equal share of attitude and ambition, Tess sets forth to pitch her concept to the relevant businesses. Joining her on this journey as both wingman and love interest is investment broker Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford), who we later find out is actually dating Katherine. Hilarity, warm and fuzzes, all the feels ensue.
Directed by famed filmmaker Mike Nichols, this is far from his distinguished works like THE GRADUATE, CATCH 22 and SILKWOOD and more in line with his later body of work, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE and THE BIRDCAGE. That said it’s an entertaining and engaging dramedy that is very indicative of its period, capturing both the cutthroat ethos of big business in the eighties and the accompanying hairstyles and fashion of that era. Adequately shot, scored, acted and directed, it’s an unremarkable film from a critical perspective but it’s fun and was no doubt an empowering film for woman that year.
Final thoughts on the film; was Melanie Griffith contractually obligated to appear nude or was the film contractually obligated to allow Melanie Griffith to appear nude? The scene of her in bed with Harrison Forward where there is a brief though deliberate nipple slip post-coital could be put down to realism but the scene shortly after of her doing a spot vacuuming topless is something else. Titillating? Not really. Empowering? Hardly. Odd? Sure.