Tootsie (Film) Review

How cool is the Polish Tootsie poster? I want this framed

Before we begin I have a couple of confessions.

First off, I’m not sure if I’ve seen this movie. That’s unthinkable really considering it’s so far up my street but there it is. I think it’s one I thought I’d seen and I may have watched bits, but I don’t remember the whole film.


And B) I fancy the panties off Dustin Hoffman. I mean, hello – he looks like he’d be a riot (in the boudoir!), right? RIGHT?!

As always *spoilers*, although I’m sure the chances of you being the only other person on this planet who hasn’t seen Tootsie is rather slim.

Okay. Let’s do this.

Tootsie (1982)

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Bill Murray, Dabney Coleman

IMDB Synopsis: Michael Dorsey, an unsuccessful actor disguises himself as a woman in order to get a role on a trashy hospital soap.

“Excuse me! Which one of us has the waviest hair do you think?”

My Review:

Michael Dorsey, Actor is something of a diva and no one in Hollywood is willing to work with him anymore. Except, of course they don’t use the ‘D’ word because he’s a man, so he’s known as a ‘perfectionist’. Nevertheless, his acting gigs are drying up like liquid liner in the sun.

Michael’s just not getting work and things are starting to look serious when he helps out his friend Sandy on an audition for a soap opera. She goes along to try out for the part of Hospital Administrator Emily Kimberley on Southwest General but doesn’t get it because she’s not ‘tough enough’. (Oh girl, I hear ya).

Although you have to wonder if ‘not tough enough’ is shorthand for not hot enough (yawn).

I could learn a lot from Dustin and his fierce make up skillz

Although Sandy is distraught and just about ready to quit the city and her dreams of acting, Michael hits on an idea – and boy, what an idea! He’ll audition for the part himself as Dorothy Michaels (see what he did there?!) – proving he will make it in this town after all, even if he has to be someone else.

During her brief non-audition – Dorothy is told by sexist pig Director Ron Carlisle that she’s not got the right ‘look’ for the part (I knew it!) – she shows a real spark in retaliation and this saves her. She wins the part thanks largely to the female Producer, who appreciates Dorothy’s sass. They work around the fact Dorothy isn’t exactly a traditional beauty (my how they drive the point home).

By the way, the off-set/studio shenanigans are stereo-typically eighties with staff members smoking in the control room (Strike 4 for our Smoking Films Month) and men in positions of authority being horribly handsy.

Woman are treated like prime rib, the word ‘slut’ is bandied about casually (even by the women about themselves) and they’re lumbered with ‘cute’ nicknames, hence the title of this film: “Tootsie”.

Emily Kimberley quickly becomes a household hit, especially with a female demographic when she plays the part ‘feisty’ and refuses to put up with this schtick. She answers back and even improvises some of her scenes. One particular sees Emily thwack Commandant Lassard from Police Academy (1984) (George Gaynes) over the head when his character, a lechy old doctor, tries to kiss her. It’s well received amongst the female cast members, to say the least.

Ginger was really enjoying herself on her 77th Spice Girl Reunion Tour

While this is all going on, Michael/Dorothy is becoming close to his co-star, Julie; lives with his mate Jeff (on a side note, they’re also trying to get a play off the ground) and has started having it off with Sandy.

The latter seems to only have taken place to cover up his new identity as Dorothy, and although it’s casual between the two, Michael has yet to come clean to Sandy about the role of Emily, and how he won it. Especially when she bitterly criticises the actress now playing the role she lost.

The role incidentally proves so successful for the soap that, much to Dorothy’s dismay, her contract is renewed for another year.

I don’t want to go back, back, back and forth on the entire plot but Dorothy and Julie do become incredibly close. Julie is sleeping with Ron BTW but also has a young baby by someone else. She’s treated horribly as you can imagine. Her Director’s also got his eye on beautiful ingenue/expert underwear wearer April (Geena Davis), who he’s been snogging on the side.

The original cast of Thelma & Louise was very different

Dorothy has also caught the eye of an admirer herself, in the form of Julie’s dad Les (Charles Durning) who’s actually pretty adorable. He proposes to D, which is all shades of awkward. It gets worse when Julie dumps Ron (inspired by her new friend) and Dorothy misjudges the situation, and tries to kiss her.

Julie is understandably freaked out but is still kind to Dorothy, telling her that she really does mean the world to her but that she just cannot right now. Especially not when her dad’s feelings are on the line.

This prompts a final scene with Dorothy as Emily Kimberley that will change the course of their relationship forever, and maybe even the tone of the soap opera too (you don’t get this on Eastenders).



How long can Michael keep being Dorothy? How will Julie handle the kissing situation, or the fact her new BFF really isn’t who she says she is?

Will Lovesick Les ever get over his inevitable heartbreak?

How cute is Bill Murray in his skeleton t-shirt? How great is Sandy’s fringe?

And will Ron Fucking Carlisle ever sort himself out (ditto: Jon Van Horn?), those sexist buffoons?!

My Thoughts:

I obviously loved it because that’s what I do. I love eighties movies. When I mentioned on Facebook that I’d never seen Tootsie before, my BFF David was shocked – “But it was literally made for you!” – and he’s kind of right.

It’s not perfect by any means and maybe I’m looking at it too harshly but I do find it sad that it takes a man being a woman to stir the feminist pot on this soap opera. Of course Dorothy is a great influence on the new women in her life and they begin to fight back themselves but it’s a shame it took a male protagonist to get them there.

However, this film was made in the eighties and it’s pretty great to see gender roles challenged in this way (back then).

I do think the whole concept of befriending someone by pretending to be something they trust is super creepy, call me old fashioned. I know it’s innocent here and that Michael would never hurt Julie but still. I’d find it very hard to forgive.

That said, as above, it’s a great to have a man witness for himself the bullshit standards by which women are held up. To find himself ridiculed for not being beautiful, for being fat, all those wonderful flaws women have held against them – finally!

As a fun piece of cinema with all these elements put aside, it’s sweet. I love the soundtrack too (It Might Be You by Stephen Bishop is lovely).

“I think I preferred working with the giant monkey.”

My Rating: 4.5/5. The 0.5 is lost due to the ending (too too easy Michael).

What did Jill think of this eighties baby? Shimmy on over to see for yourselves.

A Very Murray Christmas (Film) Review

AVMC_Santa_Vert_Key_Art_US_MainOur first foray into Crimbo programming this week and what better place to start than in Mr. Murray’s company, even if we find him a little down in the dumps?

Twitter has been awash with commentary on this film which I’ve tried to ignore. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I saw the trailer.

Did it live up to hype, though?

Before we begin, the usual *spoiler alert*.

And we’re away…

A Very Murray Christmas (2015)

Director: Sofia Coppola
Stars: Bill Murray, Miley Cyrus, Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, Maya Rudolph, George Clooney

IMDB Synopsis: Bill Murray worries no one will show up to his T.V. show due to a terrible snow-storm in New York City.

My Review:

This is going to be a hard one to review because really, it’s just Bill Murray and a few celebrity friends singing Christmas songs around a flimsy story line about being snowed into a bar in NYC. I think it’s snow, I wasn’t really concentrating. (Of course it’s snow, it says so up there in the synopsis!)

The lazy way to approach this would be to say, “Bill Murray is in it, so what’s not to like?” and then politely change the subject. Sure, he is and of course, he’s lovable and grouchy as always. He’s B. Murray, for God’s sake. As Jill says, “In Murray we trust!”.

But the truth is, it’s not nearly enough.

I am jumping the gun a little bit and launching straight into my thoughts and I need to hang back. I’m going to try to review as if it were a real film. Bear with.

“You’d look so much prettier if you smiled, Bill”

Bill Murray has the Christmas Eve blues and if only he had a little ditty prepared to convey just how fucked off he really is. Oh wait. He also has a pianist ready in the wings, his trusty friend Paul Shaffer.

Bill is down in the dumps because the whole city is on lockdown, meaning his Christmas Special isn’t going to be that special after all, since nobody can get into town. The Clooneys of this world don’t do snow and it’s almost too much for B to bear.

Luckily for Mr Murray, he has a couple of pushy publicists, Liz and Bev (Amy Poehler and Julie White) who politely remind him the show must go on (because contracts). This does nothing to lift the mood but hey ho, this is Bill Murray and so they away to the bar downstairs to set up.

From what I can glean about the rest of it (I was playing The Simpson’s Tapped Out on my phone for the duration, what of it?), Bill convinces Chris Rock to sing with him, despite the fact he can’t sing; meets a couple whose wedding day has been derailed by the snow (Jones and Schwartzman) and reminds them, via the medium of song, why they fell in love in the first place.

“It’s this or Garfield 3…”

He falls asleep and dreams about Miley Cyrus and George frolicking in a winter wonderland with the dancers from a Robert Palmer music video (oh wait, no that was Love Actually).

In fact, the gang sing a very dubious song about Santa wanting some loving and that’s after they’ve already done Baby, It’s Cold Outside, the festive equivalent of Blurred Lines.

Then Bill wakes up and that’s about it. There are cameos a go go and the highlight has got to be… well, I’ll tell you down there in the Thoughts section.

Creepy George


There aren’t many moments of drama in this bad boy, therefore no real need to build suspense with my Questions segment, but why not have a go, eh?

Will Bill ever smile? Will he win back that loving Christmas feeling he was so missing at the beginning? Will George turn up?

Doesn’t Miley look nice without her vagina hanging out (*Mum comment alert*) and isn’t her voice just beautiful?

Also, what was the point in this, Sofia Coppola?

“You’ve got legs, love.”

My Thoughts:

The highlights of this hour long ‘special’ are clear. Maya Rudolph (!) as The Lounge Singer is exquisite, fierce and funny – when she asks Jason S if he’s ever had a Soiled Kimono (a cocktail), I damn near lost it.

A Very Murray Christmas
Exactly like Christmas round The Basses

Jenny Lewis, as The Waitress (of Rilo Kiley) is superb and lovable, and best singer of them all, unsurprisingly. And then of course, when the whole thing finished. That was good.

It was pretty boring to be honest, nice to see some familiar faces and amusing in places but not great despite the cast, the director and the writing talent.

Sorry Bill.

My Rating: 2.5/5. Maybe you’ll get more from it that I did, I hope so but I think I’ll stick with Hugh Grant’s embarrassing dad dancing, thanks.

What did Jillian think of this festive offering? Find out here.