Picks and Pans Review: The Associate
The Whoopster cranks out so many movies that it's easy to underestimate her talents. She's virtually the only actress in Hollywood who can do comedy without playing ditsy, kooky, zany, coquettish—the standard "girlish" funny business of a movie like The First Wives Club. The deadpan Goldberg pretty much just grouses her way through whatever script is at hand. And who can resist deadpan grousing? Here she plays a brilliant Wall Street analyst cheated out of a promotion by a colleague (Timothy Daly). She quits and starts her own firm, but finds she can attract investors only by pretending she is acting on orders from a white male partner. Eventually, Goldberg is forced to disguise herself as this partner. She emerges in a thick rubber mask that makes her look like the middle-aged Brando sculpted from marshmallow.
There aren't any surprises, but the movie, pleasantly directed by Donald Petrie (Mystic Pizza) and written by Nick Thiel, has more to say about sexual discrimination than First Wives. It's funnier too, thanks to a cast that includes Wiest as Goldberg's mousy but tenacious assistant, Eli Wallach as a wily old financier and Bebe Neuwirth as a money manager whose attraction to a man is in direct proportion to the size of his portfolio. (PG-13)
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