NINE TO FIVE -- Aspen Hill, Jenifer, Loehmann's Plaza, NTI Marlow, NTI New Carrollton, NTI Tysons Center, Roth's Seven Locks, Showcase Fair City Mall and Springfield Mall.
The Hollywood holiday blitz is one of the more recent Christmas traditions. This year the celluloid studios sent us an even dozen -- the Twelve Flicks of Christmas, you might say -- but two of them arrived (as some Christmas cards do) just too late to respond to. So much work went into "Nine to Five."
Three major stars of different parts of the entertainment field -- Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton -- put forth enthusiastic efforts. Care was taken, in research among organized office workers, to give the film authenticity, although fantasy was also employed to turn that amusing. A meticulous balance was struck between demonstrations of anti-stereo-typical behavior (none of the three women screams when suddenly confronted with a dead body) and examples of prevalent female patterns (the women are always saying "I feel terrible about this" when they fight back). Punchy comedy is used to relieve the soberness of the message.
But all that is nothing compared with the effort of a well-disposed female viewer, who likes the idea and the actresses, to like the film. Unfortunately, effort is not enough.
For all the trouble taken, "Nine to Five" comes out as a very ordinary situation comedy about three bubble heads seeking revenge on a boss who is a big old meanie. The justice of the cause, the abilities of the actresses, the intrinsic interest of the scene -- these are all lost in the frantic efforts to cram in satire, social commentary, slapstick and sexual oppression. There is such a thing as working too hard.