Boardroom battles, slapstick silliness and the eighties era are three of my favourite film trappings. The news that Michael J. Fox is to return to our screens in his own TV show after a long absence reminded me of an old film favourite that incorporates all three: The Secret of My Succe$s.
Released in 1987, directed by Herbet Ross and produced by Ross and Nora Kaye this film spins a very simple yarn as Fox’s Brantley Foster, (or is it Carlton Whitfield?) deceives his way out of the mailroom and up to the executive lounge with the aim of hobnobing with the “suits.” Throughout his journey Brantley engages in risqué relations with the CEO’s wife (the first of which is, in a rather coy move, set to the Jaws theme tune), commandeers an office for his alter-ego and demonstrates that some men can multi-task in a big way – despite what most disgruntled girlfriends will tell you.
The hilarious slapstick moments (a chase scene involving a lift is amongst the most memorable), a love interest in the form of Christie Wills (played by the immaculate Helen Slater) and some fairly serious boardroom scenes are balanced perfectly to create a varied pitch and tone that holds the audience’s interest; every scene holds some little, endearing foible to be relished. Throw in a great eighties soundtrack (so great that I bought it on cassette) and you’re left with a very easy-going film that is sweet and cynical in equal measure.
If you’re a Michael J. Fox fan, or have a hankering for Helen Slater for that matter, then you should definitely give today’s Saturday Matinee a look.