**.9 GM
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Bill Murray, Teri Garr, Charles Durning, Dabney Coleman, Sydney Pollack, Geena Davis, Punky Brewster's Dad


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I never had any desire to see this film. Not even when AFI named it the second funniest film of all time. Since "Some Like It Hot" was number one, I figured that, apparently, males in traditionally female clothing is THE funniest idea in the history of life itself. No comedy is higher than men in drag, according to "the experts." While I do appreciate "Bosom Buddies" and I dug "Some Like It Hot," I really have to disagree.

In order to view this film, one must remember the time it was made - the early 1980s, when 'women with power and equality' was a concept that people still weren't sure was a good thing, for some stupid-ass reason. Thus, a guy that's a bit of a jerk passing himself off as a woman and gaining a 'greater understanding of what it means to be a woman' might seem like a novel idea and revolutionary or something. It's not nearly as potent twenty years later, but there's still enough comedy here to make it a decent film to watch, thanks largely to Bill Murray.

Hoffman's a stubborn, unemployed actor that needs to raise money to put on his roommate Jeff's (Murray) new play, so he disguises himself as a woman to get a part on a soap opera (because his reputation sucks and no one will work with him) and he gets it, becomes a big deal, falls for his co-star Jessica Lange, fucks Teri Garr over and tries to fend off Charles Durning and Punky Brewster's Dad (George Gaynes).

Hoffman does a pretty damn good job of becoming a woman, and the transformation is generally believable. Teri Garr's a good flake, Dabney Coleman's a good jackass and Geena Davis is a good woman-that-hangs-out-in-her-underwear-a-lot-to-make-Dustin-Hoffman-nervous. However, it was Bill Murray that made the film interesting to me, initially. As soon as I discovered he was in it, I was much more willing to actually sit down and watch the film, because Bill Murray rules. He's got some great bits, some of them simply made great because he shows up and gives a perfect Bill Murray look. Guy's always good.

The main problem with this film just seems to be standing the test of time. Gender politics, while still retaining a lot of inequality, have shifted a bit, and anybody who still calls their female employees 'tootsie' is almost universally seen as a ridiculous dumbass shitbird moron. It's also got a predictability problem, but there are enough moments of fleshed out character interaction and interesting points made here and there that still make it a good story. I just wouldn't call it the second best comedy of all time... simply because most of the comedy here fostered 'mild bemusement' rather than 'turn this off before I puke blood' laughter. That's what the best comedy of all time needs, and "Tootsie" didn't have that.

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