In two fine supporting roles, Timothy Daly plays Billy, the mature youth with problems of his own, and Ellen Barkin is Shrevie's wife Beth.
A closer examination of what Levinson has brought to the surface are the problems of growing up and, yes, you get to laugh at the funny bits and the film's message: although it's fun to meet at Fell's Point Diner, there comes a time when you must grow up.
During the wedding reception at the end, you feel as if this small group of friends are prepared to face whatever the future brings. Their friendship also has its poigant moments. Here is a film that will definitely make a difference in re-evaluating your youth and Levinson ties it all together with a touch of sentiment and spontaneity.
It is rated AA, with the warning: not recommended for children.
April 14, 1982
Copyright Rick Jackson 1982
In The Secret Of My Success, Michael J. Fox excels as Brantley Foster, a kid from Kansas who goes to New York to succeed in the business world. What happens to him when he arrives is all part of the fun in this new comedy from producer/director Herbert Ross (The Sunshine Boys).
Fans of the Canadian-born actor will be laughing themselves silly at his screen character. It is different from any other role of his career. You get to see him improvise more and use a bit of slapstick. He is also more down-to-earth and a lot funnier.
Based on an original screenplay by Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr. and A.J. Crothers, from a story by Crothers, the film is set in the 1980s. The topical reference to the hit TV show Miami Vice during a robbery starts the comic pace which never lets up.
Without divulging too much of the plot, Foster gets a job in the mailroom at the Pemrose Corporation, a multi-national conglomerate whose products range from dog food to missile guidance systems. Not content to stay in the mailroom, he devises a clever scheme in which he can move up the corporate ladder.
The beautiful and talented Helen Slater stars as Christy Wills, an ambitious female executive who is reluctant to have an affair with Brantley.
Director Ross describes the actress in the Universal press kit as a very beautiful girl who has those wonderful qualities of breeding that Grace Kelly brought to her roles.
Lending excellent support are Richard Jordan and Margaret Whitton who are Brantley's Uncle Howard and Aunt Vera respectively.
Grammy Award-winning composer David Foster is responsible for the film's contemporary music score which is effectively used to help convey the narrative of the story through musical montage. The best examples of this are in the elevator sequences where Fox makes his daily switch from one job to another.
Filmed on location in New York, the headquarters of The International Paper Company substituted for the fictional Pemrose Corporation.
The Secret Of My Success is the season's wild card comedy.
It is rated PG/Parental Guidance.
April 22, 1987
Copyright Rick Jackson 1987