Dir: Michael Lange. USA. 1999. 90 mins.
Prod Cos: Moonstone Entertainment, Given Films. Prods: Galt Neiderhoffer, Etchie Stroh, Daniela Soto-Taplin. Co-prods: Karen Jaroneski, Alex Orlovsky. Exec prod: Randy Simon. Scr: Caroline Doyle, Jill Kopelman. DoP: Rodney Charters. Prod des: Jody Asnes. Ed: Anita Brandt-Burgoy. Mus: Jimmy Harry. Main cast: Dominique Swain, Ben Pullen, Peggy Lipton, Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin.
Working Girl meets Absolutely Fabulous in this frothy, fashion industry fairytale from first time director Michael Lange. Although spiked with some cutting one-liners and likeable overall, it lacks the polish and depth to make the most of its promising ideas. Commercial prospects fall into the petite range.
Continuing to prove that there is life after Lolita, Dominique Swain is the Cinderella figure toiling as an intern with 'Skirt' magazine. Treated as a lowly minion, she strives for job security whilst pining for the seemingly unobtainable Prince Charming in the art department. Once the initial situation is established, the happy-ever-after ending is never in doubt. The journey there involves such gauche touches as a musical number, the obligatory fantasy sequence and a silly espionage subplot that allows our heroine to emerge triumphant.
More Doris Day than Pedro Almodovar, Caroline Doyle and Jill Kopelman's perky screenplay takes eager potshots at the pretensions and superficialities of a world that already seems well beyond caricature. It hits the target on a regular basis but never lets go enough to attain the manic malice of Absolutely Fabulous. It also fails to develop the chorus of secondary characters beyond camp accessories or grotesque objects of derision.
Swain and Ben Pullen are adequate as love's young things without creating any special romantic spark whilst Joan Rivers is effectively cast as a flamboyant fashion guru. Cameos from a succession of haute couture luminaries and Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow add to the air of self-indulgence.
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