Reviews

Tootsie: Special Anniversary Edition

4

It was only after he successfully punked Midnight Cowboy co-star Jon Voight at New York’s Russian Tea Room that Dustin Hoffman felt confident he could really pass himself off as a woman. Even so, it came as a shock how unattractive he felt when dragged up – so much so that, a quarter century on, the memory still brings him to tears. All director Sydney Pollack can remember, meanwhile, are the never-ending arguments with his temperamental star and the latter’s diva-like insistence that Pollack take the role of his character’s agent. Hang on, lads: isn’t Tootsie supposed to be a comedy?

Thankfully it is – one of the best that ’80s Hollywood produced. Yes, the model is Some Like It Hot. But by playing its farcical situation for real (unemployed actor dons dress and becomes hit actress), Dusty, Sydney et al were able to sprinkle the laughs with some serious musings on gender stereotyping and the differences between the sexes. Perhaps the film’s cleverest stroke, however, is to surround its leading (wo)man with genuinely funny people, be they Teri Garr, Charles Durning or a scene-stealing Bill Murray. Watch out, too, for a debuting Geena Davis (cast, explains Pollack, because he needed someone, “whose breasts would hit Dustin in the face”.)

This and various other titbits we learn from hour-long doc A Better Man, the main reason to shell out for this anniversary re-release. Thrown in for good measure are nine deleted scenes and Dustin screen-testing (on Betamax!) as his female alter-ego. Shame there’s no commentary. Hell, Dustin could have done one with himself…

 

Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: February 4th 2008