Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is an unemployed actor with a reputation for being 'difficult'. Desperate for work, Michael dresses up in drag in an attempt to land a part in a daytime soap as a mature woman. He succeeds, and achieves instant fame as Dorothea Michaels. However, complications develop when he falls in love with Julie, a female cast member (Jessica Lange), while simultaneously having to fend off the amorous advances of both Julie's father (Charles Durning) and male actors on the set.
Tootsie inevitably looks dated in some respects now, but it's still fabulous in others--the sexual politics look distinctly faded in their sniggering approach to sexual ambiguities, while the sardonic portrayal of a showbiz that loathes perfectionism is still both timely and hysterically funny. Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of Michael Dorsey is a memorable self-caricature--the man is so obsessed with the craft of acting that he refuses to sit down when playing a tomato in a commercial, and so producers run away rather than work with him. By playing Dorothy Michaels playing her soap character, Dorsey gives himself the freedom to be a bad and popular actor. He is so busy with the surface of being a woman--the voice, the hair, the frocks--and with all the bad faith of his and Dorothy's emotional lives, that he learns to relax into the pleasure of performance. This aspect of the film is far more interesting, ironic and funny than the corny New Man moralising about sexual roles that goes with it. Jessica Lange got, and earned, an Oscar for her sensitive straight woman performance as the colleague Michael falls for, and Bill Murray, Teri Garr, Geena Davis (momentarily) and Charles Durning all turn in reliable supporting roles. Sydney Pollack directs efficiently rather than inspiredly--oddly, he earns almost more credit for his well-observed performance as Michael's world-weary agent.
On the DVD: The DVD is presented in crisp Dolby Digital sound and with the original theatrical visual ratio of 2.35:1; enhanced for 16:9 widescreen televisions. It is dubbed into French, German, Italian and Spanish and has subtitles in most European languages as well as Arabic, Hindi and Hebrew. The only special features are the theatrical trailer and filmographies for the leading performers and director. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Terrificly entertaining comedy that showcases the best of Dustin Hoffman and brings our attention to a whole ream of quality supporting actors. Feeling very much like an old school type comedy, Tootsie (superbly directed by Sydney Pollack) fuses all the traits needed to hold the audience right to the credits role. What's noticeable now when revisiting the film is just how cheeky the piece is, poking the ribs of soaps, the pedal stool building of celebrities, and of course the bad taste that is left in the mouth because of sexism.....especially in the film industry, yes Tootsie is pretty astute work from Pollack and his team of writers (way too many to mention here).
Though very much a blunderbuss vehicle for Hoffman's range (he may be difficult to work with but he's one of his generations best actors), Tootsie's ultimate success is down to the ensemble cast. The twin sexiness that is Jessica Lange and Teri Garr both put in tremendous work as the two women in Michael/Dorothy's life, then there is Bill Murray as Michael's flat mate, Jeff, deadpan comedy gold from the sozzled face master. Sydney Pollack (yes the same), Charles Durning, Dabney Coleman and Geena Davis round out the roll call for excellent performances fleshing the bones of this delightful picture. Not without its bitter sweet moments, or indeed a touch of drama, it's with the comedy that Tootsie is most remembered for, and rightly so. As Dorothy struggles to fight off amorous men, or the simplest thing like hailing a taxi, the laughs come fast and furious in this cross dressing delight. 8/10
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