Secret of My Succe$s [1987]

Derivative fluff from 1987, made tolerable by its bawdy exuberance and an appealing performance by Michael J. Fox, who was still enjoying TV stardom and the career momentum he earned by traveling Back to the Future. Here he plays a Kansas farm boy who dreams of scoring big in New York City, but reality turns out to be brutal to his ambition. When his uncle (Richard Jordan) gives him a mail-room job in the high-rise headquarters of a major corporation, Fox occupies an empty office and poses as a young executive, winning the attention of a lovely young colleague (Helen Slater) and having an affair with his boss's wife (Margaret Whitton). Sporadically amusing as a yuppie comedy and rather off-putting as a wannabe sex farce, the movie's still recommendable for its lively cast and a breezy style that almost succeeds in updating the conventions of vintage screwball comedy. Whitton is a standout performer here, so you may wonder why her comedic talent has been underrated, apart from a good role in the first two Major League movies. This may be little more than a big-screen sitcom, but it's not without its charms. --Jeff Shannon

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