WORKING GIRL by Hester Mundis


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About as funny as Separate Ways (1978), but more cartoony and relentlessly vulgar, Mundis' new N.Y.-Jewish farce/satire has a central gimmick that's far from new: some ""nice"" girls decide to open a brothel. (Cf. The Passion Flower Hotel, Albee's Everything in the Garden, etc.) The mastermind of this particular bordello is Sonni Mishkin Rubin, a 34-year-old divorcÉe who's unhappy as the ""underpaid assignments editor and all-around towel for a second-rate producer of a third-rate TV news show."" And it's when Sonni's latest one-night stand--consumer-advocate Wyatt--apparently mistakes her for a hooker that Sonni gets the idea for an Upper East Side brothel-cum-cooking-school: no-frills $100 sex (""If they want romance, they can screw Barbara Cartland"") and omelettes on the house. So Sonni and some equally Bloomingdale's-ish friends rent an apartment (previously occupied by a deceased rock star, it looks like the ""New Delhi YMCA""); they view porno flicks for research; they draw up a ""What's Cooking?"" menu (""Lollipop,"" ""Handyman's Delight,"" etc.); they practice fellatio and foreplay; they prepare a pretty amusing multiple-choice test for would be employees; and they're a big success--with franchises on the horizon. Meanwhile, however, there are somewhat more consistent laughs from Sonni's other preoccupations: her raunchy father, mooching money for his ""novelty and tchotchke business"" and about to fall into the marital clutches of a ""Machiavelli in Spandex""; and her crass employer's quest for a handicapped weatherman. (In the running is secretary Tina's cousin George, ""a six-foot-two black man without toes""; as Tina says, ""He can't boogie, he can't play basketball--that's not handicapped?"") A couple of dozen good one-liners--but, like Gail Parent's latest, too contrived and shtick-y overall to generate even the slightest momentum or involvement.

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 1981
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan