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The Secret of My Success

You don't get more 80's than Michael J. Fox's enjoyable comedy THE SECRET OF MY SUCCES$, a big box office hit back in 1987.

Fox is Kansas college grad Brantley Foster, heading to NYC for his first job, much to the horror of his country bumpkin parents.

He arrives in the city, slack jawed but eager to make his mark. When the firm that's hired him closes the day he arrives for his job, he's stuck going to very distant relative Howard Prescott (the perfectly slimy Richard Jordan) to seek employment.

Like J. Pierpont Finch in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", Brantley starts off in the mail room, but immediately begins seeking the ladder out.

Fox is hilarious, charming and a movie star, throwing the whole movie on his back with ease. He's so damn likable, you never stop cheering for him.

If you miss the 80's, this is your movie.

The women's shoulder pads are huge. The colors are bold neon. The southwest art and pastels are everywhere in homes. David Foster (St Elmo's Fire) bathes it all in one of his patented eighties soundtracks with hits from every band of the day and a cheesy romantic score that starts every time someone looks dreamily at someone else.

Yello's "Oh Yeah" became a huge hit after it was featured over one of those "look at rich people driving around shopping in Manhattan" montages of the day.

Helen Slater (Supergirl, City Slickers) is Christy, an ambitious senior analyst at the firm who falls for Brantley's alter ego Carlton Whitfield, which he adopts when he takes over an empty corner office and pretends to be a new, rising member of Prescott's firm.

Fox shows off his terrific physical comedy assets as he jumps back and forth being Brantley in the mail room and Whitfield in the board room, with twenty quick changes in elevators during the day.

It reminded me a lot of Dustin Hoffman's fast transformations into Dorothy in the classic restaurant sequence in "Tootsie" several years earlier.

Carol Ann Susi (who horror TV buff's will remember as the assistant on "Kolchack: The Night Stalker") earns serious laughs as Whitfield's secretary Jean. She and Fox play off each other like pros.

Fred Gwynne is a great add in a pivotal role as a corporate takeover mogul. It's amazing how intimidating an actor he is when not wearing that Herman Munster make up. As in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Cotton Club", he is menacing as hell.

Often predictable but well executed by director Herbert Ross (The Goodbye Girl, The Sunshine Boys) this one's loaded with laughs.

If the ending is a little less satisfactory than it should be, it's still fun in that perfectly 80's comedy sitcom style.

I'll give it a nostalgic, fun B.

Watch closely during the opening sequence for a quick glimpse of Cindy Crawford as one of the models. Eighties indeed.

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