I've decided that it would be a mistake to limit my 'A Movie A Week' column to contemporary films when there are so wonderful ones that don't get talked about enough. There are also some classics it's nice to be reminded about. I recently caught this one again and I remembered why I loved it so much - it just continues to stand the test of time.
Outrageous Fortune: The 80s had some truly great comedies - I still remember seeing 'Nine to Five' an extraordinary number of times and never tiring of it. Outrageous Fortune is a lesser known film but it is definitely right up there with any of the other comedy classics. I am a sucker for comedies with female protaganists and sadly there aren't enough of these movies around.
Shelley Long and Bette Midler star as Lauren Ames and Sandy Brozinsky, two total opposites who are in an acting class together - and unknown to each other they also have a boyfriend (Peter Coyote) in common. When he goes missing under mysterious circumstances, the two women are thrust into a world of chaos and danger while trying to unearth what happened to him. Leslie Dixon pens an exceedingly smart screenplay that gives Long and Midler enough room to do what they do best. And their exchanges are absolutely brilliant - this flick has some of the best acting you'll see in a comedy. Each actress causes the other to continuously raise her game and the result is perfect comic chemistry.
Interspersing comedy and action is tough to do without it becoming cheesy but this is one movie that does it effortlessly. The 80s just seemed to have a different brand of comedy that has an eternal appeal. Can you imagine anyone but Shelley Long delivering a line like 'How dare you defraud the legitimate theater community of New York City!' or a non-Midler rendition of 'What, was I supposed to let them unhook me from life support so I could pay my bills?'
If you haven't seen this one yet, I highly recommend it!