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Oregon, 1980: Jane, Elaine and Louise are all feeling the effects of inflation and cannot afford, as the title states, the high cost of living. Jane cannot afford a babysitter or get married and if she wants privacy with her boyfriend, she has to sleep in the car. Even worse, her war veteran father comes to live with her to turn her life upside down. Louise lives a happy life with her veterinarian husband, Albert. She runs an antique shop on the side, but since it doesn't take in any profit, the IRS considers it a hobby. She needs to come up with the money to keep it going, or she will be trouble with the IRS. Elaine's husband has left her for another woman and without any money. She is in a constant struggle with banks, power companies, and gas stations. She needs money to get by and also catches the eye of police officer Jack. The local mall is having a contest that features a giant money ball that states it will help fight the inflation. Elaine comes up with a plan to steal the ... Written by
A crew member is visible in a car bumper at the start of the garage sale scene. See more »
Oh, I don't know, there's got to be some way we can make money.
We can make porno films and all wear ski masks.
No, Robert and I got bombed out one night. We put a little "I love you" tattoo on my ankle.
Ok, we'll wear masks, you wear socks.
Come on, let's get out of here.
What do you think about a doggy bag for the butter?
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Believe it or not, this movie actually has some resemblance with Jules Dassin's famous heist classic. OK, it's not Paris, France here. But Eugene, Oregon is a nice place, too. People who are familiar with the town probably will have a few extra laughs. The actual heist in a shopping mall is really well filmed and not entirely implausible. Contrary to the men's rififi the women work their way up from below, but I do not want do disclose more.
How to Beat the High Co$t of Living is based on quite a good and easily digestible script, although some of the jokes are predictable or fall a little flat. The first part of the movie deals with the individual reasons of the three women of different social backgrounds to plan and execute the heist. This gives some insight in the economic situation in the USA in the late 1970s.
Jane Curtin is great in the leading role, she has a terrific screen presence and can bare her teeth like no one else. Her job during the heist is to divert the attention of the crowd from the treasure while it is taken away and she really has some wonderful scenes. I also liked Richard Benjamin, Eddie Albert and Dabney Coleman as male support.
I can recommend this movie as a light yet insightful entertainment.
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