“9 to 5” is one of the classic comedies of the modern time. The film came out in 1980 and was an instant classic, with Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin playing office workers and Dabney Coleman playing their sexist boss. This was perhaps the first “feminist” film showing that the women were capable workers with abilities, convictions and heart.
In one of the bonus features on this edition, the cast describes their experiences with the film. Fonda was also a producer and she explains how she gathered the iconic cast for this iconic film. She had seen Tomlin on stage and immediately thought she would be great in the story. And when driving home she heard Parton on the radio singing “Two Doors Down” and a light bulb went off in her head. She knew she wanted Parton as part of the team.
What is interesting is that there wasn’t a script but only an idea about disgruntled office workers who face their egotistical, sexist, oblivious boss. Colin Higgins was brought in to write the screenplay and direct the film.
The theme song was written by Parton and has become an anthem for workers all over the country. It’s hard to hear it and not stop humming it for the rest of the day. Even now I cannot get it out of my head. It tells the story of hard working people who are just trying to make their way in life but face unyielding bosses who see them as servants instead of coworkers.
While sexism is still rampant, there are more stringent laws now, but back when this film was made it was the norm for men to treat women differently than men. Ahem, that is still very much part of our society but we have come a long way since Franklin Hart (Coleman) and his condescending ways.
The story is a fun mixture of life and fantasy as the two mix together when the three women kidnap their boss, hold him against his will, while trying to make the workplace friendlier for everyone. In the end everyone gets what they want – a happy, peaceful work environment that produces better work than it had when people were miserable.
There is also a karaoke version of the theme song. How many times have you sung that song to yourself while driving to work? It’s a catchy little tune.
It has been 36 years since it debuted and it is still one of the most admired and iconic comedies. The cast is magnificent and the story is well written with just the right amount of reality combined with fantasy and even a hint of wackiness while showing three women rise to their fullest potential without the adversity of a boss that has no interest in them as people.
“9 to 5” is a fun film to watch over and over again.