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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
9 to 5
Directed by Colin Higgins
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment 12/80 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Welcome to the "pink collar ghetto" where women office workers have to get their bosses coffee, are treated as sexual objects, and are passed over for high level promotions. Violet Newstead (Lily Tomlin) is a seasoned veteran who always makes her boss, Franklin Hart, Jr. (Dabney Colmena), look good. She initiates Judy Bernly (Jane Fonda), a naïve woman who recently abandoned by her husband, into the work force. The one person everyone seems to avoid is Hart's secretary (Dolly Parton); they all think she's having an affair with the boss.
9 to 5 with a screenplay by Colin Higgins and Patricia Resnick, works on two levels. It is a wish-fulfillment satire on male chauvinism which gives viewers a chance to fantasize various forms of revenge upon skirt-chasing and inept blowhards like Hart. The three heroines kidnap and hold him prisoner for six weeks while they restructure his entire office operation, introducing such programs as flextime, a child-care center, job sharing, and other employee services. Hence 9 to 5 offers ample situations which make us laugh our heads off and use our heads for thought about the treatment of women in business.
Director Colin Higgins draws out fine performances from Lily Tomlin as Violet, the sarcastic but highly competent manager, from Jane Fonda as a tyro who quickly learns the ropes of office politics, and from Dolly Parton as the buxom, sincere, and lonely lady who is unjustly shunned by her peers. Dabney Coleman Marian Mercer, and Elizabeth Wilson are humorous in supporting roles. 9 to 5 is not to be missed.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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