November 18, 1988 – New York, NY – Wall Street Investment bank employee Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith), 30, was offered a job as head of the Mergers and Acquisitions department this week despite her lack of experience and continued complaints about her performance from prior managers at the bank. “She wrote that I was a ‘sleazoid pimp with a tiny little dick’ on our electronic stock ticker crawl display,” complained previous manager David Lutz (Oliver Platt). “Is that means for a promotion now? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.”
“Well, he deserved it,” countered a smug McGill sitting in her new corner office replete with Mac SE and private Sanka station. “He tried to set me up with one of my superiors (Kevin Spacey) in order to better my career. That jerk picked me up in his private town car, offered me high-end champagne and blow and tried to take me out to a swanky hotel. I told him to buzz off and jumped out of the car, marched home in my trainers to my shabby little apartment, and nuked a nice warm sanctimonious bowl of Dinty Moore. I showed those bastards.”
Following her reassignment to a new department, Tess quickly moved up the ladder by impersonating her new boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), after Parker suffered a leg injury while skiing in Europe. After an extensive getting-to-know-you period of interaction with Parker before the accident, one week at most, McGill could accurately mimic Parker’s voice on the telephone, fit into Parker’s wardrobe, and hold meetings in Parker’s office without remonstrance from any co-workers at the bank.
In yet another fortunate turn of fate, McGill unexpectedly charms Parker’s beau Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford) into falling in love with her. Trainer, of course, is also the primary executive contact for Dewey Stone, the company with whom McGill is pitching an upcoming merger. “How, in all of the romantic comedies based in New York, would I accidentally go to bed with the very man who I had an important meeting with the next day?” muses McGill as she removes her leg warmers and puts on her pumps.
“Of course I got wrapped up in the fun,” friend Cynthia (Joan Cusack) says drolly, using air quotes. “I had to pretend to be her secretary so she could keep up appearances with Jack. Nevermind that my desk is in the typing pool on the other side of the building. I mean, how did I get any work done when I was spending hours helping Tess with her crazy plots and schemes? For all intents and purposes, I would probably have been fired, had this plot been based in reality.
Since it wasn’t, though, I kept my job. I even had a little fun of my own. That first night she slept at Jack’s I had given her a mammoth dose of Valium before she went out to the mixer at the bar. And then she took a bunch of tequila shots on top of it! Glad I didn’t have to hold that wall of Aqua-Net back while she puked. Ha. In fact, a regular person would probably be comatose for days after swallowing such a potent narcotic and so much booze.”
“Not everything worked out perfect though, ya know,” a pert McGill said. “I still had to work as Katharine’s personal assistant/nurse at home despite obvious conflict of interest issues. And the fact I’m not registered as a nurse to dispense drugs to injured patients. But hey, I’m the plucky underdog here, so I get, like, a bunch of free passes.”
As of last week, McGill had successfully started her new job as an executive, turned down a marriage proposal from her deadbeat yet still very sexy ex-boyfriend Mick Dugan (Alec Baldwin), been both fired and re-hired at the bank, had a showdown with boss Parker replete with the word ‘Johnson’ included, and moved in with a philandering man whom she had known less than one month.
– Counterpoint review of Working Girl (1988) to Tricia’s Rental Rehab review of The Secret of My Success (1987) written by Kelli