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Nine to Five (reissue)


Stars: Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, Dabney Coleman, Sterling Hayden, Elisabeth Wilson, Henry Jones, Earl Boen

Director: Colin Higgins

A sparkling new print, and perhaps a new lease of life for this fast, furious and unusual 1980 comedy romp.

For most (if not all) of its running time, it proves to be fun to have around, tripping a zany light fantastic round three lady office workers: the brains (Tomlin), the bust (Parton) and the bewildered (Fonda in an offbeat role - especially funny when trying to cope with a computer filing system).

The main villain, however, is not the machine age, but the girls' intolerable, grind-the-employees-into the-ground sexist employer. This is a thankless, but well-played role for Coleman, who at least gets star billing for his pains.

How the girls keep Coleman prisoner in his own home while proving fraudulent conversion against him is every henpecked clerk's dream. Wish-fulfilment to be sure, but of the happiest kind, with hallucination sequences, madcap encounters with a corpse on a trolley, and even cartoon characters along the way. Tomlin is delightful as Violet, but suitable subsequent roles for both her and Parton proved difficult for the cinema to provide.

All three stars, however, have confirmed that they'll be appearing in a sequel sometime next year - presumably as inhabitants of a nursing home rebelling against their oppressive manager.

David Quinlan

USA 1980. UK Distributor: BFI (originally 20th Century-Fox). Colour by deluxe.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 11 Nov 2018