Thursday, July 21, 2011

#357: Tootsie

1982, TSPDT Rank #365

Tootsie is not a film I expected to enjoy. But I once again underestimated the talents of Dustin Hoffman, and enjoyed it immensely. It's a throwback to classic screwball comedies, especially Some Like It Hot, which it both updates and pays homage to. Dustin Hoffman plays a talented actor, who can't get any work because of his reputation for being a control freak and taking his work too seriously under all circumstances. He gets a job acting on a soap opera after disguising himself as a woman. He just takes the job for the money and to show that he can still get a job if his name isn't involved. The comedy comes from him having to hide his job from his girlfriend (who tried out for the same role and didn't get it), deal with his sexist director, come-ons from various older men (very reminiscent of elements of the billionaire in Some Like It Hot), the embarrassment of his roommate (Bill Murray), and his strong feelings for his (actually) female co-star on the film (Jessica Lange). As expected, Hoffman's masquerade spirals out of control as he becomes an icon in the female community for the strong-willed and vicious character he creates for himself (deviating from the script), and the best (platonic) friend and inspiration for Lange. The humorous avenues this film goes down are many and come in abundance - confirming this as one of the funniest and best comedies of the '80s, in a decade where comedies (and most films in general) were made with an increasing stupidity and overall weakness. Sure, Tootsie has a few of the unfortunate earmarks of '80s films, but these are few and far between, and surpassed by the overall quality of the film. Highly recommended.

(Rating: 8/10)

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