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How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980)

PG | | Comedy, Crime | 11 July 1980 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jane
...
Elaine
...
...
Albert
...
Max
...
Natalie
...
Jack Heintzel
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Robert
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Gas Station Attendant
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Bill Pike
...
Tom
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Charlotte
Al Checco ...
Tim Lundy
Susan Tolsky ...
Patty
...
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Storyline

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 Pat McCurry

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They're No Angels See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

11 July 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

How to Beat the High Cost of Living  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Valley River Center, where the film's "mall scenes" are set, is indeed a thriving part of Eugene, OR, culture. However, the story is set during the commemoration of the "first anniversary of the Valley River Center." In actuality though, the Valley River Center had already been open for ten years as of the filming of this movie. See more »

Goofs

A crew member is visible in a car bumper at the start of the garage sale scene. See more »

Quotes

Elaine: [Louise has just jumped in the water to get the bag of money] I thought you said you couldn't swim!
Louise: [flailing her arms] I can't!
Elaine: [groans] Ok, You'll go get the money bag and I'll save the genius.
Jane: You know, we could split up the money right now...
Elaine: SWIM! NOW!
See more »

Connections

References The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A funny, but slight, caper film featuring a great cast
11 July 2005 | by (classic film/tv site NoirDame.com) – See all my reviews

This 1980 comedy is slight but entertaining, with a terrific cast headed up by former "Saturday Night Live" star Jane Curtin. Fittingly, Curtin would later become half of the 1980s classic sitcom duo "Kate and Allie", sharing TV laughs with co-star Susan Saint James. Here, the two women share the bill with a pre-"Tootsie" Jessica Lange, who was then underrated as an actress and better known for bombing in Dino De Laurentis' version of "King Kong".

Curtin plays Elaine, a sophisticated missus whose husband has run out, leaving her with a tasteful hillside home, and a pile of bills she can barely pay off. Meanwhile, divorcée Jane (Saint James) struggles to raise two kids, and can't afford to marry her fiancé, hardware store owner Robert (Fred Willard) – forcing them to spend intimate moments in the back of a car. Louise (Lange) is also battling differences with husband Albert (Richard Benjamin), a dentist who underestimates his wife's desire to have an income of her own – and who leads the IRS to classify his wife's antique store as a "hobby".

Of course, the ladies decide the easiest problem-solver is to steal a ball full of floating dollars at the local shopping mall.

It's a slight premise, but the performances are enjoyable, not only from the leads, but also from supporting characters. While our sympathy is with the screwball ladies, it's also fun watching Benjamin squirm as a selfish oaf, in a scene with dental hygienist (and future B-queen) Sybil Danning. Also entertaining are Dabney Coleman as a cop romancing Elaine, and Eddie Albert as Max, a now-daffy ex-Marine and father to Jane. One of the best scenes involves Curtin and former SNL costar Garrett Morris, playing a utility representative.

The pretty Oregon town of Eugene, home to the University of Oregon, also lends its character to the scenes, with on-location shoots adding to its realism. Not only that – counter-cultural Eugene *is* the sort of town where well-meaning citizens would put on a play at the local shopping mall. It's a fun trip back in time for anyone who even slightly remembers the inflationary 1970s and early 1980s.


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