Palatable: Working Girl

Working Girl (1988)
Directed by Mike Nichols
Written by Kevin Wade
Produced by Douglas Wick, Laurence Mark, Robert Greenhut
Starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack, Philip Bosco, Oliver Platt
Neither commonality of gender nor class guarantee loyalty, a lesson learned hard by a working-class secretary (Griffith) weary of sexual harassment and her career's stagnation under a sleazy stockbroker (Platt); after detonating her post with a prank at his expense, she's reassigned subordinate to an executive virago (Weaver) of her firm's mergers and acquisitions department. Ever-perceptive, the ambitious underling's urged to exploit advantage from simultaneous misfortunes after discovering that her sleazy boyfriend's (Baldwin) cheating on her, and her new supervisor has pilfered a tip of tremendous potential concerning a media acquisition that she proffered. At first opportunity to utilize her lead, she becharms one of her chief's voracious contacts (Ford), whose interest in her isn't limited to their view of a merger. If Nichols' biggest '80s hit hasn't the insight of his early output, it's still as slickly crafted as anything under his direction, skirting farce but indulging the chemistry of a star cast who he employs with some judicious reserve: Weaver's almost absent throughout the flick's second act. George DeTitta Jr.'s interiors starkly contrast Manhattan's opulence with the chintzy squalor of those set in the protagonist's provenance of Staten Island, impersonated in the screaming raiment, garish maquillage and hyper-volumized hair of her best friend (Cusack). Only the music is regrettable: Carly Simon's schmaltzy, celebrated Let the River Run excruciates any discerning audience's ears during the opening and end credits, and insufferably ill-arranged variations of the track composed by Rob Mounsey during which the equine balladeer obnoxiously hums and wails often diverts attention from onscreen activity with a kitschy pomposity entirely incongruous from Nichols' breezy style. Otherwise, it's terrifically enjoyable; if Lifetime routinely screened pictures of this quality, they could triple their viewership of sane humans overnight.

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