Starring: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman, Sterling Hayden, Elizabeth Wilson
Directed By: Colin Higgins
Written By: Colin Higgins, Patricia Resnick
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 50 min
Part comedy of errors, and part hilarious wish-fulfillment satire for women that have seen their career’s stall at the hands of men. Or in the case of this film, a Mr. Franklin M. Hart Jr., ‘a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot!” Played with panache by Dabney Coleman (Meet the Applegates). 9 to 5 lightly explores inequality in the work place, and 35 years after its release, still resonates as women to this day statistically make less money than men. Despite comparable education levels, ability and commitment.
I’m so glad I finally got around to seeing this film. It starts a little slowly, as it introduces its three leading ladies, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and the incomparable Dolly Parton. But once the intros are done, the film really takes off.
Seemingly green-lighting any crazy idea that popped into their heads, writers Colin Higgins and Patricia Resnick, must have really enjoyed putting this film together. Fantasy elements? How about a deliciously twisted Snow White scene, complete with animated Disney-esk characters? Done! Dolly Parton sexually harassing her boss? Absolutely! Dabney Coleman suspended from the ceiling as the ladies investigate his dodgy dealings at the office? Why not?
At times 9 to 5 can get a little uneven, as the fantasy elements jostle with the film’s more serious topics of women’s equality, and worker’s rights. It’s also guilty of losing track of that central premise during the second act. Despite this however, this film still manages to deliver plenty of laughs. Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dabney Coleman and Dolly Parton (in her first feature film no less) turn in great comedic performances, and the movie delivers lots of fun twists and turns. Just when you think it has derailed, it rights itself again, and then takes another unexpected turn. Successfully sugar-coating an effective message about work place equality.
Expect anything and everything from this comedy. Animation, fantasy role-play, it’s got it all. The movie’s central message on women’s rights is also delivered with a light touch. This is a comedy first, message delivery vehicle second.
The more fantastical elements are fun, but this film isn’t a big visual spectacle, and can be enjoyed on any device you care to stream it on.
As well as a charming actress, Dolly Parton, as we all know, is a very gifted country music writer and singer. Her Oscar nominated theme song plays in the opening credits and sets the film up perfectly. She also has a great scene with Dabney Coleman, as she confronts him about the office rumors he started.
“If you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I’m gonna get that gun of mine, and I’m gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot! And don’t think I can’t do it!”