US, 1996, 114 minutes, Colour.
Whoopi Goldberg, Dianne Weist, Eli Wallach, Tim Daly, Bebe Neuwirth, Austen Pendleton, Lanie Kazan, George Martin.
Directed by Donald Petrie.
There is a lot to like in The Associate, although it is a mixed bag of drama, comedy and satire. Like Jerry Maguire, it is sending up the world of greed and success, but relies on money and success for its resolution, along with some deceit along the way.
Whoopi Goldberg is a Wall St financial expert but is continually passed over because she is a woman (and she is, of course, black). She devises a scheme to make her mark in the market - which has great potential for farce and it is often funny: she invents a male partner, both genius and recluse. It depends on one's attitude is towards the frenzy of deals and money-making whether one finds this kind of satire effective or not.
It is a particularly American phenomenon, but spreading. However, the opportunity to see a woman show up such chauvinistic men is worth taking. Money talks.
1. An American comedy based on a French film of the 1970s? An adaptation to the US, to the 1990s?
2. The female perspective, employment, leadership, business?
3. The New York story, Wall Street, the 1980s and 1990s and the decorative greed? Companies, associates, directors? Men’s world?
4. New York City, offices, mansions, lavish style, dinners, hotels, award ceremonies? A social world? The musical score?
5. The title, the irony that the invisible associate was a man partnering with a woman?
6. Whoopi Goldberg, her screen presence? Dianne Weist? The supporting cast?
7. Laurel, Whoopi Goldberg style, her age, experience, financial skills? Advisor to Frank, his treatment of her? Her ideas, advice? Manchester and the possibility of promotion? The trip to the strip club with the businessman, the response, Frank urging them on, the sleazy atmosphere for doing business, laurel unable to present ideas? Frank and the applause with him settling the account? Laurel losing the promotion? Her reaction, francs double cross, her leaving?
8. Male chauvinism, Frank, Manchester? Fallon? The role of Wizard women in the business offices, secretaries, sexual liaison is? Allegedly open-minded but consulting their partners and refusing women’s advance?
9. Sally, her work, and admiring laurel, her reactions, working from Frank? The discussions with laurel, coming to her house, the encouragement, the ideas, the connections?
10. Laurel, inheriting the house with her father, a lavish base for her company? The range of consultations, rejections, consultation of partners?
11. Setting up a company, the opportunity of meeting Franklyn after overhearing him in the diner? His reaction? Her explanations? Going to see Don Fallon, his chauvinist attitude, listening to her, examining the documents? Her decision to create Robert Cutie? Fallon accepting, the check, sight unseen?
12. Setting up the building, Sally and her advice, ideas, the job, the ideas box and computerisation?
13. The consequences of inventing Robert Carty, the range of excuses for his absence, being away, no publicity, travel? Wall Street interest in Robert Carty?
14. Laurel, her skills, the luck with Franklyn, her surmises, Fallon benefiting? Disrepute, everybody talking about, wanting to see him?
15. Franklyn, about to be bankrupt, laurel’s advice, his demonstrating his goods, others investing?
16. Camille, her role in the office, her letters to Carty, her sexual role?
17. Frank, his having to take a backseat, his ambitions?
18. The investigation, the FBI, the agent coming to interview laurel?
19. The buildup to the award, cut his reputation, Cindy Mason, who articles, broadcast, wanting to interview him? Attempts to waylay him?
20. Laurel’s cross dressing friend, the impersonations, the clamour, giving them a, to create Robert Cutie?
21. Cut his arrival, everybody excited, his speech, Camille in the room, the advances, his telling her to use her brain? His escape?
22. Everybody’s reaction, the possibility of seeing Cutie? Laurel, the make-up, her manner, age, masculine behaviour? Laurel still supplying the ideas? Sally
and her work?
23. The award, cut his arrival, Frank and his claims to be a friend, Cutie kissing him? The unmasking, the club with men only, the applause, Camille fainting,
Cindy Mason and her affirmation?
24. Serious issues, comedy, touches farce, satire in the 1990s? Subsequently?