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The Associate Review

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Laurel Ayres (Goldberg) attempts to launch a new company, but understanding the old-boy network, she attaches an imaginery hot new male associate to her venture. As pressure to show this golden ticket heightens, Laurel dons the prosthetics and gives everyone what they're looking for.

★★★★★

Prosthetics in the movies are big business - witness Robin Williams as an oversized Scottish nanny or Eddie Murphy as the blubberweight professor. Now it's the turn of the prolific Whoopi Goldberg in what's essentially a Tootsie meets Trading Places for the politically sensitive 90s.

Financial analyst Laurel Ayres (Goldberg) sets out to prove that the business world will only take her new company seriously if it's linked with a hot-shot male associate. Dreaming up impossibly well-connected financial brain in absentia Robert S. Cutty, Laurel and hitherto downtrodden secretary Sally (Wiest), build up a powerful business based on Laurel's expertise and the elusive Cutty's legend. Pressurised demands from the old boy network who smell a rat lead to the inevitable Cutty appearance, and in a moment that they (and the cinema audience) are waiting for, Laurel pulls on a heavy-poundage body suit and struts on to the scene looking disturbingly like a latter-day Brando.

Although this scene is a long time coming, its appearance immediately overshadows the issues of corporate sexism raised throughout the film, instead turning to answer just one question: how good Goldberg's make-up job will be? With reliable performances, a few smart gags, and a liberal dose of big Hollywood comedy stereotypes, the picture proves at best an engaging diversion, not troubling its audience for belly laughs. And with Goldberg's appearance suggesting yet again a gifted comedienne wrestling with inadequate material, the search for projects worthy of her comic talents is proving as elusive as the fabled Mr. Cutty himself.

With reliable performances, a few smart gags, and a liberal dose of big Hollywood comedy stereotypes, the picture proves at best an engaging diversion, not troubling its audience for belly laughs.

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