The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
“The Associate” is an uninspired recycling of the “Tootsie” formula, with the fatal error that its Tootsie-figure is offscreen most of the time and not lovable when he's onscreen. Can Whoopi Goldberg convincingly play a white man? Only sort of; he looks like a dubious experiment at Madame Tussaud's. Does she make the man into a character we like and care about? Not at all.
The movie stars Goldberg as Laurel, a bright businesswoman who gets discriminated against because she's not a man, so she creates a fictitious man as her invisible partner and gives him all of her best ideas. This man, named “Cutty,” is soon the best-known investment adviser on Wall Street, but he's never seen--he's always out of town or on vacation, while Laurel fronts for him.
Eventually it becomes absolutely necessary for people to see Cutty, so Laurel enlists the skills of a friend who's a celebrity impersonator, and appears at public functions as a white man. But not a very interesting or likable man. What people liked about “Tootsie” was Tootsie--her moxie, her personality, her spirit. It wasn't the transvestite plot gimmick that made the movie a success.
On the way to its ungainly third act, “The Associate” scores some good points against the male-dominated hierarchy of the business world. We see Laurel training a man (Tim Daly) who gets the promotion she deserves. We see Daly taking clients to a strip club and closing deals at 3 a.m. after sending Laurel home. We see her quit her job in disgust and open her own firm. And we like the relationship she has with her new secretary (Dianne Wiest), another smart woman lost in the bowels of male power.
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