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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Tootsie

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange
Director: Sydney Pollack
Rated: PG
RunTime: 116 Minutes
Release Date: December 1982
Genres: Classic, Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, Geena Davis, Sydney Pollack, George Gaynes, Estelle Getty, Christine Ebersole

Review by Brian Koller
3 stars out of 4

"Tootsie" is a successful and entertaining comedy. While not as good as its reputation, there are many genuine laughs to compensate for its weaknesses.

"Tootsie" stars Dustin Hoffman as a talented but troublesome actor, unemployable due to his reputation. Out of desperation, he dresses up as "Dorothy" to win a role as a woman on a daytime soap. He is somehow able to pull off this fraud for a year, although it causes problems with his old girlfriend Teri Garr, his new girlfriend Jessica Lange, and his boyfriend (?) Charles Durning.

"Tootsie" examines gender roles and differences, and seems to conclude that women are better than men. In his final lines, Hoffman admits that he was better as a woman than he is as a man, whatever that means. One of the male characters is a jerk (soap director Dabney Coleman) and another is a romantic buffoon (George Gaynes). Admittedly, the principal female characters have their faults as well. Lange drinks too much, while Garr can't get her life together.

Other than two Steven Bishop songs, the most obvious weakness of "Tootsie" is that no one except his roommate (Bill Murray, in one of his best supporting roles) and his agent (Sydney Pollack, who also directed) knows that "Dorothy" is a man. Even more unlikely is the unwanted romantic attention he receives, from Gaynes and Durning.

This was the first feature film for Geena Davis. She makes an auspicious debut in a dressing room.

"Tootsie" was nominated for numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hoffman), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Garr) and Best Cinematography (Owen Roizman). Somehow, the sappy "It Might Be You" was nominated for Best Original Song. The only Oscar the film won was by Jessica Lange for Best Supporting Actress.

Copyright 1995 Brian Koller

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