Working Girl

A near-perfect re-telling of “Cinderella” where Cinderella acts as her own Fairy Godmother.  Instead of being granted a beautiful dress by a supernatural entity, Melanie Griffith steals one belonging to her Wicked Stepmother and takes it upon herself to go to the Grand Ball.  The message of the movie, ultimately, is “There ain’t no Fairy Godmothers in this world.  You’ve got to do it all yourself.”

“Cinderella,” lest we forget, is a story about perception and deception.  Cinderella hates herself, hates what she has been reduced to.  She can only get into the Grand Ball if she lies to everyone and dresses up as a princess.  If everyone thinks she is a princess, she stands a good chance of one day becoming a princess.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, in Working Girl Melanie Griffith pretends to be her boss, Sigourney Weaver, in order to put together a deal that was her own idea, but which Sigourney was trying to steal out from under her.  In the process, she manages to steal Sigourney’s boyfriend, Harrison Ford.  Will she pull off this deception and be accepted into the world of business, or will she always be a loser, shlumping around from one secretarial job to another with big hair?

(In “Cinderella,” the ticking clock is a literal one, the one that’s going to strike midnight.  In Working Girl, the ticking clock is Sigourney Weaver’s broken leg.)

The acting in this movie is something else, even for a Mike Nichols film.  Sure, Melanie Griffith seems poured into the role, and would never get another role like this in her career.  But wait, here’s Harrison Ford, being effortlessly charismatic, funny and romantic as Prince Charming.  And look, here’s Sigourney Weaver, peeling paint off the walls with a blistering, jaw-dropping performance as The Boss.

How did this happen?  Were the actors especially inspired, is Mike Nichols just that good, or is it the script?  Would anyone else be just as good in the roles?  Can a script be foolproof?

And look, there’s Alec Baldwin, thin, and Kevin Spacey, overacting!  And look!  There’s Oliver Platt, and Caroline Aaron, and Phillip Bosco and Joan Cusack and the incomparable Nora Dunn and Olympia Dukakis and Ricki Lake!  Ricki Lake, really?  Yes!  And who’s that tall guy without any lines in the bar scene?  Why, it’s a young man named David Duchovny, in his first-ever role!

Makes a good double feature with Die Hard.


8 Responses to “Working Girl”
  1. eronanke says:

    I was hoping you wouldn’t forget David Duchovny.
    PS- I like Alec Baldwin chubby. Awww… Alec!

  2. popebuck1 says:

    I thought Joan Cusack was robbed of Best Supporting Actress that year. But then, so was Sigourney.

    But then, I’ve always thought Joan Cusack should have Jennifer Aniston’s career, with them tailoring high-profile romantic comedies just for her.

  3. craigjclark says:

    Hey, how come no mention of Carly Simon? Did “Let the River Run” win an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy for nothing?