Critic Reviews



Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Anyone who has ever worked in an office will be able to identify with the antics in Nine to Five. Although it can probably be argued that Patricia Resnick and director Colin Higgins' script [from a story by Resnick] at times borders on the inane, the bottom line is that this picture is a lot of fun.
Nine to Five is a good-hearted, simple-minded comedy that will win a place in film history, I suspect, primarily because it contains the movie debut of Dolly Parton. She is, on the basis of this one film, a natural-born movie star, a performer who holds our attention so easily that it's hard to believe it's her first film.
The New Yorker
Tomlin confirms herself as a star whenever she gets the material, and Dolly Parton's dolliness is very winning, but it's easy to forget that Jane Fonda is around - she seems to get lost in the woodwork. The director, Colin Higgins, is a young fossil who sets up flaccid, hand-me-down gags as if they were hilarious, and damned if the audience doesn't laugh.
The movie is surprisingly smart about the politics of the glass ceiling, which keeps Tomlin in a pink-collar supervisor position while every man she trains gets promoted past her. The way Coleman asserts his masculinity with phrases like "cut the balls off the competition," and the way our heroic trio works together to sculpt a worker's paradise—complete with flex-time and day-care facilities—serves as an effective summary of the era's hot-button issues.
Chicago Tribune
Nine to Five is a film full or surprises - some pleasant, other disappointing. The most pleasant surprise is the appearance of Dolly Parton, who with this one film establishes herself as a thoroughly engaging movie star. The biggest disappointment is that this Jane Fonda comedy about a trio of secretaries out to get their boss doesn't have more bite. [19 Dec 1980, p.2-1]
Lots of laughs, little sense, and pure fantasy. Produced by Fonda's company, NINE TO FIVE is an amusing way to spend 110 minutes, but hardly memorable.
Despite an excellent and promising cast, this Hollywood attempt at a mainstream feminist comedy is flabby and bland...Complacent, and even worse, not very funny, despite the efforts of the ever-excellent Tomlin.
The three actresses make an attractive team, but neither the screenplay, by Colin Higgins and Patricia Resnick, nor the director, Mr. Higgins, uses them very effectively. It's clearly a movie that began as someone's bright idea, which then went into production before anyone had time to give it a well-defined personality.
Washington Post
For all the trouble taken, Nine to Five comes out as a very ordinary situation comedy about three bubble heads seeking revenge on a boss who is a big old meanie. The justice of the cause, the abilities of the actresses, the intrinsic interest of the scene -- these are all lost in the frantic efforts to cram in satire, social commentary, slapstick and sexual oppression. There is such a thing as working too hard. [19 Dec 1980, p.19]
Washington Post
The new facetious depressant from Colin Higgins -- the screenwriter and now director who has parlayed "Harold and Maude," "The Silver Streak" and "Foul Play" into one of the more baffling winning streaks on record -- runs a merely weak comic premise into the ground with coarse, laborious execution. [19 Dec 1980, p.E1]

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