Monday, August 19, 2002

The Movie I Watched Last Night XXXII
Friday: Nine to Five
An extremely satisfying office comedy that rivals more recent attempts such as Office Space. The basic premise is slightly dated, as the film concentrates on a secretarial pool, its relationship with their male manager -- and their eventual rebellion against the hierarchical structure of their workplace. Lily Tomlin leads the charge with her strong-willed character Violet Newstead, and Dolly Parton shines as the southern-bred and misleadingly ditzy Doralee Thodes. But it is Jane Fonda's Judy Bernly who emerges as the most level-headed and leadership-oriented character, evolving from a mousy, unconfident recent divorcee into the group's conscience and reality check. That said, the chemistry between the three is palpable, and the movie rides on their collective acting force. Worth watching if you haven't ever seen it -- and returning to if you had. The messages still mean something.

Sunday: The Importance of Being Earnest
I've never read Oscar Wilde's play, but it's evident that the movie is infused with and quite fond of Wilde's penchant for playful banter and language usage. Colin Firth (Jack/Earnest) and Rupert Everett (Algy) interact quite nicely, and the cast is well rounded out by Judy Dench, whose society matron role is a highlight of the film, and Reese Witherspoon, who surprises with her portrayal of Jack's ward Cecily. Some commentators have remarked on director Oliver Parker's occasional forays into the world of Baz Luhrmann in terms of updating classics, but even it's true that Parker rearranged some of the story, added some details and back stories for the characters, and updated the story slightly, it's a solid movie. Plenty of Wilde's original cleverness and cynicism, and a solid clutch of actors. Wilde would probably approve.

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