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Tootsie (1982)
Topic Started: Feb 19 2018, 08:33 AM (202 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Tootsie (1982) Dir. Sydney Pollack
Columbia Pictures
116 min. / Color / 2.40:1
Blu-ray: Criterion

A desperate out-of-work male actor with a reputation for being difficult (his agent's helpful advice: "NO ONE WILL HIRE YOU") auditions for a part as a tough female on a daytime soap opera - and gets the role, complicating his relationship with the female friend who loves him, his playwright roommate who thinks the entire situation is weird, the female soap opera star he's falling for, her father, who's falling for her - er, him - and not to mention the agent.

Enormous crowd-pleaser because, although the film is a laugh riot, they played the whole thing straight (so to speak) - no Mrs. Doubtfire-type gags here. While there are huge laughs, it's also a commentary on male/female roles and expectations (as star Dustin Hoffman said, he came to realize that while "Dorothy" was the most interesting person in the film, he never would've spoken to her at a party - she wasn't attractive enough). Bill Murray is the roomie who's writing "Return to Love Canal," Teri Garr is the kinda-girlfriend, Oscar winner Jessica Lange is the soap star who makes bad choices and then drinks to forget them, Charles Durning is her dad with the hots for Dorothy, Dabney Coleman is the sexist director, and director Pollack - who had to be coerced into the role by Dustin - is the long-suffering agent.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Dorothy ad-libbing during the soap: "Dr Brewster tried to seduce several nurses in this unit, claiming to be the throes of an uncontrollable impulse. Do you know what? I'm going to give every nurse on this floor an electric cattle prod and instruct them to just zap him in the ba-doobies!"

Bill Murray: "I don't like it when people come up to me after my plays and say, 'I really dug your message, man.' Or, 'I really dug your play, man. I cried.' You know? I like it when people come up to me the next day, or a week later, and they say, 'I saw your play. What HAPPENED?'"

The wonderful Criterion disc includes a 68 min. doc on the making of the film; we learn that Elaine May was brought in as script doctor, uncredited, and shaped the film (and created the Bill Murray character) as we have it. Kudos to her. And to Geena Davis, in her film debut. She had STAR written all over her.

An irresistible romantic comedy.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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