Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Tootsie (25th Anniversary Edition)”

(Sony. 1982/2008. Rated PG. 116 minutes. Color. Widescreen. 1 Disc. Directed by Sydney Pollack.) Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, Sydney Pollack, George Gaynes, Geena Davis. Music by Dave Grusin.

Out-of-work actor Michael Dorsey, with a reputation for being difficult, becomes soap star Dorothy Michaels in Hoffman’s tour-de-force performance. Pollack, not known as a comedy director, strikes a perfect balance between comedy, feminist insight, and sentiment. Excellent supporting cast includes Murray as Hoffman’s roommate (You slut!); Garr as a fellow struggling actor with a crush on Hoffman; Lange, beautiful and winning, is a soap actress unhappily involved with the director (Coleman); Durning as Lange’s father, who falls fast for Dorothy; Gaynes – not usually mentioned by reviewers, but hilarious – as the veteran soap actor who hits on all the women, including Dorothy (Does Jeff know?). Don’t forget Pollack himself as Michael’s agent (No one will hire you!): Coleman was to play the role originally, but Hoffman didn’t find him intimidating enough, and begged Pollack to play the agent himself. The only thing that grated on me a bit was Grusin’s syrupy score (with Stephen Bishop’s theme song It Might Be You reminding me that John Belushi had the right idea when he smashed Bishop’s guitar in Animal House). The movie earned 10 Oscar nominations, but 1982 was the year of Gandhi, and Tootsie only won one award (for Lange). This anniversary edition contains lots of interviews from cast and crew. It might be the right time to revisit Pollack’s output: Hollywood buzz says the 73-year-old Oscar-winner (Out of Africa) is gravely ill, so we may not hear from him again.

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