When I was a girl “The Incredible Shrinking Woman” was one of my favorite movies. I would beg my mother to let me rent it every time we went to the video store. Incidentally, the “video store” in my tiny hometown consisted of one shelf of worn videos in the back of the store that housed the Radio Shack distributor and a new-fangled tanning bed. Needless to say, there weren’t many options when it came to video rentals. But even now in the time of unlimited choices and breathtaking special effects, I would still choose the Lily Tomlin classic.
Lily plays Pat Kramer, a housewife who when exposed to a peculiar mix of chemicals begins to shrink. Pat and her husband, played by funny Charles Grodin, can’t seem to figure out why she is becoming increasingly tiny. The family doctor in all of his infinite wisdom realizes the problem and informs them that she is in fact “shrinking”! What follows is one hilarious moment after another.
After she accidentally falls down the garbage disposal they decide she would be better off living in the doll house. For a young girl like me this was the coolest thing I could imagine, second only to living in a tree house in the backyard.
Lily strikes again in the superb comedy “Nine to Five,” also starring Jane Fonda, Dabney Coleman and the booty-liscous Dolly Parton. Lily, Jane and Dolly play secretaries in an office run by a creepy skirt chaser named Mr. Franklin Hart Jr. (Coleman). In those days it was acceptable to be a sexist pig and still keep your job.
When Dolly’s character realizes everyone thinks she’s having an affair with the boss she fires back with the funniest line in the movie, “So that’s why everyone around here treats me like some dime-store floozy. They all think I’m screwing the boss … if you 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!” You go with your bad self Miss Parton.
The three ladies decide to show Mr. Hart who is really in charge when they kidnap him and run the company while keeping him tied to his bed at home. This movie is light and funny without having to resort to low-brow dick and fart jokes. That, my friend, is why Lily Tomlin rules – she doesn’t need to be crass to be funny.
In “Flirting with Disaster” Lily plays the long lost birth mother of Mel Coplin (Ben Stiller). When Mel, his wife, their new baby and his adoption agent go in search of his birth parents they end up acquiring two FBI agents and a whole lot of laughs.
After an arduous journey fraught with peril, the motley crew finally reach the home of Mr. and Mrs. Schlichting played by Tomlin and Alan Alda. Mel comes to the realization that his birth parents are aging LSD dealers when one of the FBI agents accidentally gets ‘dosed’ at dinner by the Schlichting’s punk kid.
This has really funny performances by all of the actors involved. Mary Tyler Moore shows her breasts; Josh Brolin licks Patricia Arquette’s armpit, Ben Stiller gets a hilariously embarrassing woody and Lily ‘the great’ talks the FBI agent through his acid trip. Awesome baby.
If you are unfamiliar with Tomlin’s work and want to see her on the big screen, she has a small part in the new movie “Orange County.” Note: I am not, I repeat not recommending “Orange County,” from the previews alone it looks to be a stupid waste of time. But I say if that’s what turns you on, do what you want.