Riding the feminist wave of The First Wives Club, The Associate shows a woman
struggling in a man's world, but fails in its attempts to have her join it.
Whoopi Goldberg is Laurel Ayres, a brilliant, yet struggling Wall St. executive.
No matter how hard she works, it always seems that she's passed up
when promotions are handed out. When her eager protege, Frank (Tim Daly)
gets promoted above her, she finally gets fed up and quits the firm, in
order to strike out on her own. However, she soon finds out that it's
a man's world on Wall Street, and no one will do business with a woman.
In order to succeed, she invents an imaginary partner, Robert Cutty, and
ala Remington Steele, business begins to boom. However, when Cutty is forced
to show himself, Laurel must don a disguise and become her own creation.
It is in this latter part of the film that The Associate goes down. Robert
Cutty ends up looking like Whoopi Goldberg in a Thomas Jefferson mask. That
anyone would be fooled by this freakish thing strains credibility further than
this movie can sustain. Before Cutty's appearance, the film manages a few
chuckles here and there, but as the film goes on, you are left to wonder just
HOW stupid can the characters be? And then Cutty's anticlimactic appearance
succeeds at destroying the remaining lifeblood in this movie. Diane Wiest has
a nice part as the shy but brilliant secretary who is also overlooked by the
corporate world, and Bebe Neuwirth has an amusing but slightly unbelievable
bit as a woman who sleeps her way to the top. Whoopi tries hard,
but the Associate ends up as another in a long line of her poorly chosen comedies.
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