A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that ages 14 and up could watch this on TV, where it airs fairly often. They give it quite a makeover to take out some of the racier content. Main characters Tess, Jack, and their contemporaries are in the midst of a drug-fueled, greedy era in which people will use anything they can, including their sexuality, to get what they want. Lots of women are naked in this film, from a woman in a porn video to the woman Mick cheats on Tess with. When they aren't naked, they're wearing revealing lingerie, from the full garter-belt get-up to a sexy slip. There are lots of cautionary tales in this film on how not to behave: At one point, Tess passes out from combining valium with tequila. When she wakes up in the morning in Jack's bed, she worries that she may have had sex with him. Today that would be considered rape. Everyone in this film lies to everyone else to get ahead, even when it's Tess stealing her idea back from Katharine.
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What's the story?
Staten Island-raised working-class woman Tess (Melanie Griffith) is determined to put her brilliant business mind to work. She tells a personnel director (Olympia Dukakis), "It took me five years of night school, but I got my degree and I got it with honors. I know I could do a job." But no one will seem to let her, from her sexist stockbroker boss who pimps her out under the guise of work promotions to the female boss who tells her they're equals but stabs her in the back. When her latest boss, Katharine (Sigourney Weaver) steals her idea for a corporate merger, Tess gets her revenge. Taking advantage of her Katharine's absence, she masquerades as her corporate equal and starts to broker the deal herself. But can she really do what she's been telling people she can do? And can she deal with the strong attraction she has to her acquisition partner (Harrison Ford)?
Is it any good?
WORKING GIRL is a screwball comedy filled with terrific performances. There are some iconic lines in the film: "I have a mind for business and a bod for sin," Tess tells Jack upon first meeting; Cyn (Joan Cusack) yelps at seeing the price of a dress Tess is stealing from Katharine, "Six thousand dollars?!? It's not even leather!" The laughs are there, but for the right mature audience that can handle all the sexual content and the questionable ethics.
Today's teens will probably look at Working Girl as an artifact from our ratted hair and shoulderpad past, complete with unironic mullets and really high-waisted pants. But it's also an artifact of the greedy '80s, told with enough humor and gentle spirit from star Melanie Griffith to make it a kinder, gentler Wall Street.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: February 21, 1988
- On DVD or streaming: April 17, 2001
- Cast: Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver
- Director: Mike Nichols
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: partial nudity, sexuality and adult themes
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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