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The Associate (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy | 25 October 1996 (USA)
A comedy about making it on Wall Street. Prejudices are hard to break and Laurel Ayres quickly learns that in order for people to take her seriously she has to work for an older white man or be one.


Donald Petrie


Jenaro Prieto (novel), Jean-Claude Carrière (screenplay "L'Associé") | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Whoopi Goldberg ... Laurel Ayres
Dianne Wiest ... Sally Dugan
Eli Wallach ... Donald Fallon
Tim Daly ... Frank Peterson
Bebe Neuwirth ... Camille Scott
Austin Pendleton ... Aesop Franklin
Lainie Kazan ... Cindy Mason
George Martin ... Walter Manchester
Kenny Kerr Kenny Kerr ... Charlie
Lee Wilkof ... Bissel
Helen Hanft ... Mrs. Cupchick
George Morfogen George Morfogen ... Plaza Manager
Zeljko Ivanek ... SEC Agent Thompkins
Miles Chapin ... Harry
Jean De Baer Jean De Baer ... Loan Officer


Laurel Ayres is a businesswoman trying to make it but unfortunately she works at a investment firm where she does all the work but all the senior investors like Frank Peterson grab all the credit. She then leaves and starts her own firm. While trying to find clients Laurel pretends that she has a male partner named Robert Cutty. And when she starts to do well all of her clients wants to meet Cutty which is difficult since he doesn't exist. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's a man's world...until October 25. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality and an exotic dance club scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Actress Roma Mofia appears in one scene very briefly as a reporter trying to interview Mr. Cutty. She was uncredited in the film; and can only be seen for a few seconds asking questions along with other actors in a huddle. See more »


In the scene where the police are interrogating Laurel, there is a photo that is leaning up against the ashtray that was not in the previous shot. The next shot shows that photo is gone but in the shot after that, it is moved to a different spot but still leaning against the ashtray. See more »


Sally Dugan: What are you gonna do?
Laurel Ayres: I'm goon perpetrate a great big whammy!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are presented like a stock ticker. See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Chris Rock/The Wallflowers (1996) See more »


The Border Song
Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Performed by Sophie B. Hawkins
Produced by Donald Lawrence for Crystal Rose Records, Detroit, MI
Sophie B. Hawkins appears courtesy of Columbia Records
See more »

User Reviews

Good film with Whoopi
27 November 2008 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

I always enjoy Whoopi Goldberg in films, and the 1996 film "The Associate" is no exception. Based on a French film, it's the story of a Laurel Ayres (Goldberg) who is having trouble "making it" in a man's world, though she's smarter than all of them. After being manipulated and beaten out of a promotion at her old job by slick Frank (Tim Daly), Laurel starts her own company and quickly goes nowhere. She gets some help from an assistant at the old firm, Sally (Diane Wiest) and ultimately decides to make up a male associate, Robert Cutty. It works like a charm, and business is flying in the door. However, everyone is most anxious to meet Cutty, and there comes a point when she has to produce him. And when she does, he's obviously been based on Marlon Brando - the older Marlon Brando.

This is an amusing film that could have been hilarious. It does have some great moments, though, and likable characters in Goldberg and Wiest. Other fine performances include those of Daly, Lainie Kazan as a cutting columnist and Eli Wallach as a client.

The other problem I have with the film is that it is sorely dated. It's hard to believe that, while sexism still exists, Laurel would have so much trouble from the old boys' network in 1996. Sure enough, as I suspected, the film on which it is based was done in 1979. Remington Steele, a TV series based on the same premise, was produced in the '80s.

Surely in 1996, a woman of Laurel's obvious talent would have been more appreciated where she worked and could have launched a successful business without a fake male associate. Anne Mulcahy of Xerox and Ho Ching of Temasek Holdings are only two examples of such powerful executives from the 1990s.

Still, it's entertaining and fun, and a reminder that they don't make this kind of comedy anymore.

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Release Date:

25 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Associate See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,261,304, 27 October 1996

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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