WORKING GIRL. Directed by Mike Nichols; written by Kevin Wade; produced by Douglas Wick for Twentieth Century Fox. Starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver. Rated R.
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Working Girl is an amusing romantic comedy that overcomes some near-fatal silliness with strong, appealing performances.
Fans of Ford and Weaver will surely want to see it, since these two veterans play roles much unlike their usual fare. And in Griffith, viewers can clearly see a star being born.
Tess (Griffith) is a secretary in a Manhattan brokerage house who has ambitions beyond the typing pool. She goes to night school, reads voraciously, and takes advantage of any opportunities at legitimate inhouse advancement.
Since she's gorgeous as well as smart, however, most of these opportunities end up with middle managers trying to take advantage of her. And for pleasure, not business.
She gets a break, though, it seems, when she starts to work for Katherine (Weaver). Here is a mentor and role model for Tess, a successful businesswoman who can help her up the ladder.
Katherine, however, turns out to be one of the most delightfully nasty villians in recent movie memory. Tess has to indulge in subterfuge to prove herself and, incidentally, to get even with her boss.
Ford is Jack, an investment broker who just happens both to fall for Tess and to become her business partner. The plot coincidences surrounding his character are jarringly unbelieveable, in contrast to the reaIistic tone of the rest of the movie. Ford is fun to watch and as appealing as always, but the contrived nature of his character is a mark against Working Girl.
It's just a small black mark, though. For the most part, the movie is a quite enjoyable comedy, but with an undercurrent of seriousness.
January 18, 1989