Meet Franklin Hart (Dabney Coleman). The biggest “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss on the planet. He thrills in taking advantage of his head female office staff; humiliating, downplaying, and condescending against them whenever conveniently possible, particularly his top assistant Violet (Lily Tomlin). Long-exhausted over his gruesome bullishness, Violet, alongside co-workers Doralee (Dolly Parton) and Judy (Jane Fonda) comprise comical methods of “doing him in”, when a freak incident occurs. They then manage to kidnap Hart and trap him in his own house, while assuming control of his department, and productivity leaps. But just how long can they keep him tied up?
Cheesy 80s fun!
“Nine To Five” is one of those classic 80s comedies which was what made the decade so fun as far as movies go. Jane Fonda plays Judy, a recently divorced housewife who lands a secretarial job at a corporate office. Lily Tomlin is Violet, the beleagured supervisor at the office who shows Judy the ropes on her disasterous first day. Dolly Parton is Doralee, a secretary whom everyone at the office thinks is using her – ahem – “assets” to get ahead by sleeping with the boss.
Soon these three become best friends and team up after they’ve gotten fed up with their chauvinistic and smarmy boss Mr. Hart, played to the hilt by Dabney Coleman. Sure, it does delve into zany corniness, such as the scene where they all get high on pot and share their fantasies about how each of them would like to knock off the boss (the funniest is Violet’s “Snow White” coffee one, which uses cartoon animation and live action) or the scene where Violet thinks she accidentally poisoned Mr. Hart’s coffee with rat poison and tries to steal his supposed dead corpse out of the hospital! This is the kind of movie where you check your brain at the door and take it for what it is.
There are some great one-liners like the one where Fonda tells her ex-husband, who thinks she’s having a kinky S&M affair with Mr. Hart, something along the lines of, “If I want to do M&M’s, that’s fine with me!” The office they work in is reminiscent of the one in “The Apartment”. Three very clever characters, great comedic acting from Parton as Doralee and Tomlin as Violet. Jane Fonda, who I never cared much for, was good as the naive Judy. Sterling Hayden has a great cameo at the end as the “Chairman of the Board”. A funny revenge comedy about Every Office, U.S.A.. You gotta love the theme song, too. Most recommended!