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Sexual harassment is the theme, but here it is the man who is harassed by his new female boss. A high-flying executive, Meredith, is out to ruin her former lover, who she's just beaten to the top job in an electronics company, using every trick in the book. Written by
This is a pretty good drama with an excellent cast of characters. The story centers around Michael Douglas, who plays a division head in a high tech company in Seattle that is undergoing a merger. Demi Moore plays his old girlfriend, an aggressive corporate executive, who comes in and snatches away the job promotion he was counting on, then failing to seduce him after hours, files a false sexual harassment with the company in order to get rid of him.
It's interesting that although the story revolves around Michael Douglas's plight, it's the women who set the events in motion and who help the protagonist resolve the problem he's presented with. Female empowerment is the main theme of this movie.
Demi Moore gets perhaps her best movie role ever by playing the sexual predator to Michael Douglas's easygoing mid-level manager. She knows how to play the corporate game much better than him, and quickly boxes him into a dicey situation. How does a guy explain that it was his female boss who hit on him and not the other way around as she claims? Demi Moore controls the situation well for most of the movie, and plays the villain so well that the viewer really enjoys when she finally gets her comeuppance.
Roma Maffia does an excellent job of playing Michael Douglas's lawyer. He's lost on how to respond to the sexual harassment charges and what to do to preserve his job, and she forcefully takes over his defense and steers him towards a successful resolution. She also understands how the game is played and keeps her nerve when the company comes after her client.
Caroline Goodall plays Michael Douglas's wife and displays a perfect combination of anger and support while he resolves the charges against him. A lawyer herself, she understands the situation her husband has gotten into much better than he does, and is there for him as both an advisor and partner.
Rosemary Forsyth plays another female executive at the company who, without giving away the plot, mentors Michael Douglas through his dilemma. She's smart, but calm and principled, and in fact it is she, not Douglas, who eventually gets the promotion to head the company.
Even though Michael Douglas is the protagonist and eventually overcomes the crisis he's facing, his character is basically weak in the movie. He's carefree and unfocused at the outset, assuming the job promotion is his because he's done a good job for the company, and is completely blindsided when a woman takes it away from him and then threatens his career and his marriage. Douglas eventually takes charge and with alot of outside help and some improbable plot twists gets the upper hand, but in the cutthroat world of corporate intrigue, he's the little fish who gets lucky and swims out of the net.
Donald Sutherland hands in his usual fine performance as the president of the company. Dennis Miller plays a computer geek working for Michael Douglas and has a few humorous moments, but suddenly turns nasty in the middle of the movie and then just disappears. Dylan Baker plays a sort of Mr. Smithers kind of character to Donald Sutherland's Monty Burns, and is just egregious enough make you hate him, which is a good sign of a performance well done.
There are a few plot twists that offend the viewer's senses and things are wrapped up just a bit too neatly, but all in all, this is pretty good entertainment from start to finish. The movie touches an important issues, sexual harassment in the workplace, and makes it more interesting by making the woman the aggressor and the man the victim. Not surprisingly, I noticed that women gave this movie a higher average rating than did the men.
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