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Terribly underrated, this little comic jewel may rank with 'Clue' and
'Noises Off!' as one of the greatest film farces ever. Repeat viewings
reveal an attention to detail one wouldn't expect from a big-budget
comedy of this period, and most of the jokes work very well indeed. As
others have pointed out, the film resists the temptation to stereotype
its characters, and the script is wonderfully quotable. If the
resolution seems a little silly, well, what did you expect?
As for the performances, I know Pauline Kael said this was Midler's movie, but for my money there's no question that Lily Tomlin's the star of the show, especially as country Rose. Her delivery of such simple lines as 'Boy, are you bossy' and 'I am gonna kick yer ass' are priceless. Highly recommended; it gets funnier every time. 8.5 out of 10.
That this 1988 movie contains 2 sympathetic, non-stereotypical gay
characters says a lot about the movie makers. There seems to have been some
real care taken over what could've ended up a cheaply made throwaway
Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler are simply superb in their roles as separated twins and in my view out-do Jeremy Irons in that year's other twin movie `Dead Ringers' - and he was fantastic.
This film has been criticised for not delivering laughs where you would predict them based on the film's premise. But is that a fault? Big Business builds comedic tension early on and sustains it throughout by clever use of supporting characters and the subtle way that from their scenes with them we learn about the 4 leads.
The eternal dilemma of nature v nurture is portrayed in a fairly non-preachy way coupled with a similar approach to town v country. To do this in a farce containing 4 romances plus all the rest is a tall order for any moviemaker but this rich premise is cleverly negotiated by Jim Abrahams & the writers with only a handful of misfires.
Now I'm not one for romances but the studly Fred Ward, who was unbelievably 46 years old at the time, as the whiter than white Roone Dimmick, manages an amazing feat - his meeting and courting of Lily Tomlin in the space of a few minutes is carried off quite plausibly by this accomplished and underrated actor and is a joy to behold.
10 out of 10 and a real shame that there is no more from these 2 writers.
I rushed right out and located the DVD of "Big Business," even though I
knew that Disney had a bad reputation for minimal value in extras on
their DVD releases. That situation has improved over time, and seeing
BB in wide screen made it all worthwhile. This movie started out funny
for me and has gotten better with repeated viewings. It has an
excellent pedigree with Jim Abrahams directing and Dean Cundey manning
the camera, and the leads are definitely up to the challenge of dualie
It is unusual for a comedy to have the strong viewpoint and values expressed in this movie. Fred Ward's Rune talks about the simple pleasures of living in the rural country and you know that somebody involved with the script knew those pleasures personally. The characters rarely become stereotypes. Even the secondary characters are treated with respect.
Dean Cundey, Director of Photography, must have been specializing in trick photography as he went on to shoot "Back to the Future 2" and "3" with even better results. The effects budget for BB was high enough to keep the believability intact.
To me this is an all-around enjoyable light comedy.
The 1988 film "Big Business," directed by Jim Abrahams, stars two
well-known actresses, Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin, who both play duel
roles of twins mixed up at birth in the 1940s. The names chosen for
both sets of twins were Rose and Sadie. The Shelton twins were born to
a wealthy couple from New York; the Ratliff twins are from a low-income
family that lived in Jupiter Hollow. One of the Shelton twins was given
to the Ratliff family and vice-versa. Jump forty plus years to the
1980s. The Shelton twins inherited their father's corporation Moramax
in New York City, and the Ratliff twins work at the Hollow-Made Factory
in Jupiter Hollow, the town in which they were born. Moramax is
planning to shut down the factory and to strip-mine Jupiter Hollow. The
Ratliff's come to New York City to save the factory and town from the
Shelton's corporation. Both the Ratliff's and Shelton's stay in the
Plaza Hotel in NYC, not knowing their real twins were also there. They
end up meeting each other right before Moramax's big meeting, and Rose
Shelton agrees with Sadie and Rose Ratliff to save the factory and
"Big Business" presents two central ideas. One idea is that two sets of twins can be born on the same night in the same hospital can be switched at birth and can meet one another later in life. Another idea would be that the "big guy" doesn't always win. The "big guy" in this movie would be the Moramax corporation and the "little guy" would be the Hollow-Made Factory. I say this because at the end of the movie the Ratliff's end up saving their town and factory from the Shelton's large corporation.
I thought that this movie was hilarious; it receives five stars. I watch this movie over and over and never seem to get tired of it. I loved how both Midler and Tomlin play two completely opposite roles, redneck and snobbish. The southern accents (in my opinion) were excellent. This movie is similar to the "Green Acres" television show, only the rednecks end up in New York City. I wish that the director would make a sequel to see how Jupiter Hollow, the factory, and Moramax are doing.
"Big Business" is a hilarious, stylish comedy starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin as two sets of twins mixed at birth. One mixed set has a successful company in New York City. The other mixed set lives a simpler life in the country. The Sadie twins (Bette Midler) desire the highlife of the city; with its glitz and glamour. So, the Sadie living in the country jumps at the chance to go to New York City when her "sister" Rose needs to travel there to save their local place of employment. The Rose twins (Lily Tomlin) desire a slower way of life, and the Rose living in New York City has never felt like she belonged there. What happens next is a comedy of errors and mixed identity as the Rose and Sadie from the country prepare to do battle with the company run by the Sadie and Rose of the city. Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin both shine in their roles. The finely acted supporting cast includes Fred Ward, Edward Herrmann, and Michael Gross. The movie was very well written and filmed. The use of the trick photography when both sets of twins are together looks great. The comedy in "Big Business" is constant with its sight gags and humor ranging from cheery and campy to slick and nicely sophisticated. "Big Business" is delightful, and a comedy that's hard to outsnake when it comes to laughter.
This movie is a real must-see, especially if you are a fan of either Bette Midler or Lily Tomlin. Throughout the story you're either smiling, laughing or having a good old giggle, it's an original storyline (how often do we see that!), with subtle themes of strong, wholesome values - not so much so that its offensive or boring though. If you want to smile and spend a fun evening in, then this is the movie for you - watch out for the mirror scene with Bette Midler, silly but very funny. Two great actresses with style, a sense of fun and a lot of talent, pull this movie off to make it one of my all time, favourite DVD's. Enjoy!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
WARNING: I advise anyone who has not seen the film yet to not read this
Big Business has always been a movie I love watching from time to time. I will say that Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler never let me down as they got into their completely ludicrous, wacky antics that pay tribute to the old slapstick humor without being too in your face. Bette Midler came out to be the strongest of the two this time though and her performance is again what makes a film. Her character(s) were just so lovable, and Bette Midler's yodel scene was my favorite scene of the movie.
One humongous personal problem I found with the movie, and practically this was the only thing wrong with the film, was I think they should have let more time in for the final meeting scene between all 4 of them. I mean, they finally find their twins, and then it has like 4 minutes for them to talk to each other and then goes off. Uh? They could have let us see more, you know? Anyway, I found Big Business to be good, and was just a nice, quaint film to watch indeed.
...watch this movie!
Two newborn sets of identical twins are mixed up at the hospital - one pair from a rich family from New York, the other pair from a poor family of farmers from a small town called Jupiter Hollow. Raised in very different society classes, 30 years later they're coincidentally about to cross paths, as they're all staying at the Plaza Hotel in New York..
This is probably the most amusing movie I've ever seen - lots of funny remarks, scenes and situations - and Bette Midler is playing the role as the hotheaded Sadie (well, the two Sadies..) sooo good! One of those movies you can watch again and again!
Why doesn't Bette Midler make movies like this anymore? This is the second
most watched film that I own (Death Becomes Her being the first). Lily
Tomlin and Bette Midler are on top form here (watch Bette's sudden change
expression as she orders a Campari and soda) and work wonderfully
Aside from the mini-golf tournament scene (which I would shorten) there isn't a thing that I would change about this movie.
It ranks up there with Ruthless People and Outrageous Fortune as Bette's best work.
Two pairs of mismatched identical twins (you'll understand this term when you see this movie) grow up in different American cities. One pair (Midler and Tomlin) grow up in Manhattan, the other pair (played by the same actresses) grow up in their Southern hillbilly birthplace, "Jupiter Hollow." Although this comedy lacks in some departments, it's still worth a viewing. Midler and Tomlin do an admirable job switching personalities... the rich-bungling Tomlin is a perfect match, personality wise, for the podunk Midler; and the rich-snobby Midler is the worthy challenge for the podunk-spunk of Tomlin (again, you'll understand this when you see it).
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