A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
The problem with working your way up the ladder of life is that sometimes you can’t get there from here. People look at you and make a judgment call, and then, try as you might, you’re only spinning your wheels.
That’s how Tess McGill feels in the opening scenes of “Working Girl.” She is intelligent and aggressive, and she has a lot of good ideas about how to make money in the big leagues of high finance. But she is a secretary. A secretary with too much hair. A secretary who rides the Staten Island ferry to work. A secretary who started talking like a little girl because it was cute when she was 11, and is still talking the same way, except now she is 30. There is no way anybody is ever going to take her seriously.
One day Tess (Melanie Griffith) gets a new job and a new boss in the mergers and acquisitions department of a Wall Street firm. The boss (Sigourney Weaver) is a woman of almost exactly Tess’s age, but with a different set of accessories. For example, she talks in a low, modulated voice, and wears more businesslike clothes, and has serious hair. “If you want to get ahead in business,” Tess muses, “you’ve got to have serious hair.” Tess gets along fine with her boss until the boss goes on a skiing holiday and breaks her leg and is supposed to be in traction for six weeks. Then Tess accidentally sees a file in her boss’s computer and finds that the boss was about to steal one of Tess’s brilliant suggestions and claim it as her own.
This makes her fighting mad, and so she begins an elaborate deception in which she masquerades as an executive at the firm, and figures out a way to meet a guy named Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford), who is the right guy at another firm to make the deal happen. She meets Trainer at a party and gets drunk and ends up in bed with him, even though she explained to him, “I have a head for business and a bod for sin.” Will he ever take her seriously now? Yes, it turns out, because he likes her, and because he thinks her idea really is pretty brilliant.