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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 5/4/01

9 to 5
1980 (2001) - 20th Century Fox

review by Dan Kelly of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

9 to 5

Film Rating: B

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/C+/C-

Specs and Features

109 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 47:03, at the start of chapter 9), Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailers (for Norma Rae, Working Girl, 9 to 5, For the Boys, Nine Months and The Truth About Cats and Dogs), still gallery, film-themed menu screens, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0 and mono) and French (DD mono), subtitles: English and Spanish, Close Captioned

"If you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I'm gonna get that gun of mine, and I'm gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!"

9 to 5 came along at the right place and time, and struck a chord with moviegoers. I think most of us have worked for, or known someone, like Franklin Hart (played devilishly by Dabney Coleman). He's the type of man that will always refer to grown women as girls, and expects the nearest woman to refill his coffee cup on demand. In the words of the three lead women, he's a "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot." Nearly everyone in the office is tired of his heavy-handed, misogynistic management style. Doralee (Dolly Parton) is his personal secretary, and he bends over backwards to play childish tricks just to sneak a peak at her cleavage. Violet (Jane Fonda) trained Hart when he first joined Consolidated Companies and watched him leapfrog his way to the top. And then there's Judy (Jane Fonda playing dowdy in one mean wig) - the naive, newly divorced newbie who's not yet clued into Hart's games.

One night, following a pot-induced munchie fest, the three bond when they share their ideal ways of offing their conniving boss. Unbeknownst to "the girls," they'll get the chance to enact their fantasies much sooner than they'd ever imagined, and run things at work the way they want. It's at this time, about halfway through the film, that 9 to 5 switches from comic social commentary to revenge fantasy. The transition isn't as smooth as it should be, but the comic potency of the first hour of the film, and the considerable charm and talent of the cast, forgives some of the misstepping of the film's resolution.

Fox Home Video offered up 9 to 5 on DVD in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and has even provided us with anamorphic enhancement to spiff things up a bit. The print used for the transfer is clean and mostly devoid of age-related defects, but the picture looks a little too warm and washed out at times. There is little in the way of compression artifacting, but edge enhancement is minimal. Color reproduction is accurate with no bleed and black levels are nicely done. The English Dolby 2.0 surround track is a decent remix from the film's original monaural soundtrack. At times, it comes across as somewhat flat and un-dynamic, but it gets the job done. The surrounds come into play mostly during the film's score and occasionally add some boost to the effects track. Dialogue is softer than I would have liked, and I had to compensate by cranking up the volume. The original mono track is also there for purists, as is a French language mono track. Both of them are adequate.

The only extras on board are a trio of trailers for "working women"-themed Fox releases (Norma Rae, Working Girl and 9 to 5) and a few other female-centered Fox dramas (For the Boys, Nine Months and The Truth About Cats and Dogs). With the exception of 9 to 5, all of them are widescreen and anamorphic. Given their age (especially Norma Rae) they look pretty darn good. But the 9 to 5 trailer is a 1.33:1 cropped promotional spot that shows quite a bit of wear and tear. If that's not enough, there's also an impressive still gallery consisting of a whopping (hold on to your panty hose!) 5 pictures from the set of the film.

Watching 9 to 5 now is a different experience from when it was first released. The core theme of the movie is still relevant, but watching the film is almost like opening up a time capsule. Here we have an open area office filled with hundreds of desks (no cubicle walls), an actual punch time card machine and no computers. All that's missing are the rotary phones. With that in mind, this new-fangled DVD is a good way to watch the film. I would have liked more out of the audio and extras, but the video presentation is above average and the film is still, after 20 years, a lot of fun.

Dan Kelly
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