Top critical review
Is this early backlash?
on February 18, 2001
The clawing of women into positions of corporate power was supposed to bring a new era of "humanity" and softness into the business scene. This film demonstrates what a false promise that was, on the assumption anyone believed it. The struggle to gain positions at the narrow end of the corporate pyramid grows more intense the higher the role. And Vice Presidents are pretty near the top. Demi Moore usurps Michael Douglas for one of these niches, but her victory tastes bitter-sweet since they were once intense lovers. Now he's contentedly married, a parent, and well settled in his mid-level position.
Once that scenario is established, the film takes some bizarre twists. One her first day in the new role, Moore decides to seduce Douglas. While the idea of reversing sexual harassment roles is intruiging, here it seems more than a little contrived. It's far too sudden; we could have done with a little build-up. Especially given the duration of the seduction in the film. Nor is there any real motivation given for Moore's action. Is it revenge for leaving her [we don't know that happened]? Jealousy for Douglas' wife? Whatever the cause, it's implausible that a climbing corporate woman would put so much at risk through such a blatant act.
Once the failed encounter is past, we're subjected to the sordid "disclosure" of the event and its ramifications on other lives through the remainder of the film. Harassment hearings are never charming affairs, with contestents and their advocates striving to make each other look bad and succeeding long before any resolution is achieved. Although nobody in this film shines in performance, Roma Maffia almost walks with it as Douglas' lawyer. Even Donald Sutherland's role, which could also have been enhanced, is made too superficial to give him breathing room. It's inspiring to see this issue raised, it needs more exposure. Unfortunately, this isn't the film to make it happen.