NINE TO FIVE
Sexist Egotistical Lying Hypocritical Bigot Edition
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Jane Fonda, Lily
Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman
Director: Colin Higgins
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 109 Minutes
Release Date: April 4, 2006
ďViolet, calm down!Ē
ďIím no fool! I killed the boss! You think theyíre not gonna fire me for a thing like that?!Ē
Nine to Five was the comedy that brought the 80s in with a roar. If not a roar, then with the indelible thumping bass and piano of Dolly Partonís Oscar nominated song. This was the movie that gave voice to working women, and they expressed themselves loudly and clearly through the laughter.
Itís hard to believe itís been 25 years since the ladies of Consolidated taught their boorish boss a thing or two. Has it really been that long? Iíve been a fan of this movie most of my life, I guess. It still works because it express basic human longing for dignity and respect. And because itís still gut-bustingly funny.
Itís all about three women trying to get by in the male-dominated corporate world. Judy (Fonda) is the new girl, re-entering the workforce after a painful divorce. Violet (Tomlin) is the supervisor, strong and capable, but still fighting to prove herself every day. And Doralee (Parton) is the voluptuous secretary with a kind heart and no-nonsense attitude.
They all work for Franklin Hart, Jr. (Coleman), whoís a sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot (though apart from that, heís not too bad). His chauvinistic attitude makes life miserable for all, but even more so if you happened to have two X chromosomes. He humiliates Judy, takes Violetís ideas, and makes moves on Doralee.
One crazy night, the three vent their frustrations by fantasizing about how they would get even. And in a delicious sense of dramatic irony, each one of them gets to live out their fantasies, through a series of misunderstandings and complications. It gets them in over their head, but these women are stronger than their boss realizes. It spins into a delightfully complex scenario and a race to beat the clock to get the boss before he gets them for good!
Iíve seen this movie more times than I can count, and itís one I never get tired of. In the first place, the screenplay by director Colin Higgins and Patricia Resnick is lively, witty, and filled with comically accurate observations. But it also works for the performances. Ms. Fonda, Tomlin and Parton have superb comic chemistry. This is still my favorite Lily Tomlin role. And only Dabney Coleman could inject such a wretched character with such humor and charm.
A lot of things have changed in 25 years. You may not recognize the typewriters and rolodexes that don the desks, and many today would love to work a five day nine to five job. Women have asserted and proven they belong in the workforce on every rung of the ladder. And with some of the events that have occurred in the meantime, I donít know if anyone could make a movie kidding workplace violence today. But the genius of the film is that it speaks to more than just the ladies in the office. Anybody whoís ever struggled in the system can identify with Judy, Violet and Doralee.
Times may change, but the spirit of those who learn how to bend without breaking continue to inspire us. And in the case of Nine to Five, it makes us laugh as well.
BONUS TRIVIA: This was Dolly Partonís first film role, and her inexperience showed when she appeared for her first day of workÖwith the ENTIRE script memorized!
The anamorphic transfer looks pretty good, but like many films from the 80s, it has a problem or two. There arenít many dark scenes, but the ones that are there show a little flicker. Detail level is fair, as are colors and tones. Itís a fairly clean presentation overall, and should please fans.
The stereo mix is workable, but not exemplary. Dynamic range is somewhat flat throughout, though spoken words are clean and clear. The best thing about the audio is the theme song.
This new special edition disc is very welcome in my home. It kicks off with a tremendously funny and warm commentary track featuring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and producer Bruce Gilbert. Itís a lively listen, filled with jokes, humor and remembrances. I loved the story of how Ms. Parton wrote the theme song on her fingernails, as well as learning that a Broadway musical version is in the works!
There is also a retrospective documentary, featuring interviews with the ladies as well as Dabney Coleman. Rounding out are ten deleted scenes, a gag reel, a memorial for director Colin Higgins, a karaoke verion of the theme song, and a trailer.
Youíll love working Nine to Five with the irrepressible Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. And thereís never been a better way to do it than with this special edition disc from Fox.