The Associate Movie Review

There's a few legendary scripts among screenwriting circles -- scripts that people would love to rip off, if they could figure out how: Witness, Chinatown, Network. And then there's Tootsie, the queen mother of comedy scripts, that gets ripped off all the time.

The Associate is boilerplate Tootsie, lifting the entire plot structure from Dorothy's television world and dropping it on Wall Street, where Whoopi Goldberg finds herself forced to impersonate a man (named Cutty after Cutty Sark scotch) in order to be taken seriously.

If you want to know all about it, just rent Tootsie, and you'll meet the principals of The Associate-- the confident (Dianne Wiest), the would-be-if-I-weren't-the-same-sex lover (Bebe Neuwirth), the rival (Tim Daly), and the wacky gang who fall for the trick. And you'll see familiar scenes -- Cutty is almost exposed, Cutty evades woman on the prowl, Cutty's big finish.

Whatever. If The Associatewere a lot funnier this might be forgivable, accent on might. As it is, The Associateis a relatively juvenile hit-and-miss affair that makes sexism look like it's just wacky hijinks. And more demerits for using stupid, not-remotely-realistic technology as a plot device.

Thank God the cast is good, with the exception of a miscast Daly (as a cutthroat Wall Street guy?). Dianne Wiest is awfully appealing in a Mrs. Claus sort-of way, and let me say right now that I see Bebe Neuwirth (you know, Frasier Crane's stodgy ex-wife) in a completely different light. And Goldberg... is Goldberg. If you like her, in general, you'll probably like her here, too.

Well, this is already more ink than this film deserves. Three stars on its merits; docked a half for blatant shamelessness.


Comments

The Associate Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 1996

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