-> ''"I've got a head for business and a body for sin."''
-->-- '''Tess [=McGill=]'''
This 1988 comedy, directed by MikeNichols, shows that even if you come from the wrong side of the Hudson, you can make it in business so long as you've got the balls to see through a good idea.
Tess [=McGill=] (Creator/MelanieGriffith) is desperate to be taken seriously and recognized for her brains and business skill, and hopes to rise from the typing pool at the Wall Street investment firm Petty Marsh. Given one last chance after blowing out "Bob from Arbitrage", she's made personal assistant to Katharine Parker (Creator/SigourneyWeaver) in Mergers & Acquisitions. Katharine is willing to accept input and ideas from her, and is intrigued by Tess's big idea that would save a large company from a foreign takeover. Katharine then breaks her leg while away skiing in Switzerland, and she asks Tess to look after things in her absence. Tess soon discovers that Katharine is going to try to pass off Tess's idea as her own to the CEO of the threatened company. On top of this, she discovers her boyfriend (Alec Baldwin) is also cheating on her. Tess sets out to do a deal by using her idea herself and teams up with Jack Trainer (Creator/HarrisonFord) to close the deal before Katharine's return. The two slowly fall for each other little knowing that the other is Katharine's boyfriend/secretary...
''Working Girl'' was one of the more financially successful and critically acclaimed comedies of 1988. It was nominated for six Oscars: Best Actress for Melanie Griffith, Best Supporting Actress for both Joan Cusack and Creator/SigourneyWeaver, Best Director for Mike Nichols, and Best Picture. Carly Simon won the Best Original Song Oscar for "Let the River Run". The film also won four Golden Globes, with Melanie Griffith and Creator/SigourneyWeaver each winning for acting, Carly Simon for her song, and the movie as a whole for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical. The movie also inspired a short-lived 1990 NBC sitcom of the same name, starring none other than SandraBullock as Tess [=McGill=].
'''Working Girls''' is a different film entirely, about a New York brothel and its employees, and was released as an acclaimed indie production in 1986.
!!'''This film contains examples of:'''
* EightiesHair: Most of the secretaries and the women on Staten Island. Joan Cusack, to the extreme. Also Melanie Griffith in the early parts of the movie. Averted with Katharine, whose hairstyle would be seen as perfectly normal and professional even today.
* UsefulNotes/AcademyAward: Nominated for six, ended up winning one. Details above.
* AmbitionIsEvil: Very much averted with Tess. While some of her actions are ethically questionable to say the least, the film portrays her as only "[[IDidWhatIHadToDo doing what she has to do]]" to climb the corporate ladder without the "right" background or connections. Katherine, on the other hand...
* BillingDisplacement: Lead Melanie Griffith gets third place in the film, behind bigger names Harrison Ford (doesn't appear until about a half hour in) and Sigourney Weaver (shelved during Act 2).
** DiagonalBilling: HarrisonFord, the biggest star, takes the upper-left billing slot on the box art and film posters while lead Melanie Griffith takes the lower but center position. As a star name but supporting character to both, Sigourney Weaver is on the same billing plane as Ford, above Griffith, but on their right.
* BlackBraAndPanties: Tess, also with matching garter belt and stockings!
* BreakTheHaughty: Katherine, and very entertaining to watch.
* BrokenBird: Jack Trainer, due to his BackStory.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive / ThereAreNoGoodExecutives: Mostly averted. The only obviously corrupt executive is Katharine. Oren Trask in particular seems to be an honest, intelligent, all-around good guy who just happens to be a rich CEO.
* DevilInPlainSight: Katharine Parker starts off as BitchInSheepsClothing but once Tess discovers her true colours the Devil is revealed.
* EpicTrackingShot: The film begins with a 360-degree pan around the head of the Statue of Liberty, followed by a slow zoom in on the Staten Island ferry. It ends with a shot looking into the window of [[spoiler:Tess's new office]], then slowly pulls out to reveal the Manhattan skyline (though there's one obvious discontinuity in the shot).
* FacePalm: When Katharine breaks in on the mergers meeting, Jack and Tess mirror each other's Face palms.
* FanService: Melanie Griffith has a couple of ''nice'' [[LingerieScene lingerie scenes]] (see BlackBraAndPanties above); lampshaded by Tess, who suggests to Mick that for a change, he should get her something she can wear outside the bedroom. Sigourney Weaver's aren't bad either. And then Creator/HarrisonFord provides FanService both for the audience and his typing pool as he [[ShirtlessScene changes shirts]] while talking on the phone. The typing pool even gives him a [[CrowningMomentOfFunny round of applause in appreciation]].
* FootPopping: Seen in the scene where Tess and Jack fall for each other.
* GladIThoughtOfIt: [[spoiler:Katharine shoots down Tess's idea, then later submits it as her own.]]
* ICanExplain: Mick to Tess when the latter walks into their bedroom at the wrong time, then Tess to Jack when Katherine reveals Tess is only her secretary.
* ImportantHaircut[=/=]ExpositoryHairstyleChange: Tess cuts her hair in order to look like the sophisticated executive she's impersonating, hoping to become--and eventually is at the film's conclusion.
* IndyPloy: Jack gets into the act in getting Tess to dance with Trask. Bonus points that Jack is Franchise/IndianaJones.
* InsufferableGenius: Katharine has a very high opinion of herself and isn't afraid to let other people know it. She has a degree from Wellesley, speaks fluent German to the owner of a Swiss ski resort in order to get the tower suite, and freely praises herself as a trailblazer for women in the business world. By the end of the movie, she may actually be TooCleverByHalf...
* IvyLeague: Jack Trainer has a BA in business administration from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard. Katherine, as mentioned above, wnet to Wellesley, one of the Seven Sisters colleges (essentially, the Ivy League for women). Tess gets told that her lack of this trope is one of the things holding her back.
* LiarRevealed: Katherine's intrusion of the merger meeting exposes Tess as merely Katherine's secretary, forcing Tess out of the deal. Tess pays her back in kind by pulling this trope as well, explaining to Trask how she reached the idea of the merger, which exposes that Katherine knows nothing of the particulars of the deal, since it wasn't her idea like she claimed.
* LingerieScene: Several of Griffith and Weaver.
* LittleBlackDress: Tess borrows one from Katharine's closet to wear to the Dewey Stone reception. She becomes light-headed when she discovers that the dress costs $6000.
---> "It's not even leather!"
* MeaningfulName: Petty Marsh. It lives up (or down) to its name. No wonder Tess wants out.
* NeverGetsDrunk: Jack Trainer seems to be a Type 1 of this trope.
* NewYorkCity: The setting of the movie. Most of the business action takes place in Manhattan. Tess and her friends are from Staten Island, and most of the scenes involving her personal life are set there. The movie was shot on location in both places.
* [[AmericanAccents Noo Yawk Accents]]: Joan Cusack, dear God. Tess is aware of hers and is taking speech classes to make her accent less noticable. Note how the accents are much thicker on the characters from Staten Island than on the ones from Manhattan.
--->'''Cyn:''' "Whaddya need speech class foe-wa? Ya tawk foine!"
** Tess also uses her stronger Staten Island accent to pretend to be her own secretary on the phone.
* NotWhatItLooksLike / ICanExplain: Tess comes back early to find [[YouCanLeaveYourHatOn Mick]] performing more than just a shirtless scene with [[NippleAndDimed Doreen]].
--->'''Mick:''' "Tess! It's NotWhatItLooksLike. [beat] Actually, it ''is'' what it looks like, but ICanExplain!"
* PimpedOutDress: GiantPoofySleeves and disco blue tulle make for a hideous bridesmaid dress. But, hey! it matches the leisure suit tuxedos...
** Subverted with most of the wardrobe. Extremely expensive, but understated, per the rules set out when Tess meets Katharine. This includes a $6000 sequined cocktail dress.
* PluckyComicRelief: Joan Cusack as Tess's friend Cyn, particularly when she pretends to be Tess's secretary.
* PluckyOfficeGirl: Tess [=McGill=] is one of the trope namers.
* PrettyInMink: Katharine's sable coat that Tess borrows.
* RagsToRoyalty: Tess goes from being an unappreciated, overworked secretary with both a job and relationship that appear to be going nowhere. By the film's end, she's pulled off a major business merger, finally gotten a position at a major firm, and is living with Jack.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Trask. At first, he's skeptical that Tess is the brains behind the merger idea, but once she gets an opportunity to explain how she came to her plan (something Katherine can't come up with, since of course it wasn't her idea), he is very impressed (and less so about Katherine afterwards).
* SharpDressedMan: Jack Trainer.
* ShirtlessScene: Creator/HarrisonFord provides FanService to his typing pool. Alec Baldwin also has a couple, showing off his CarpetOfVirility.
* SimpleYetOpulent: Cynthia is shocked at an evening dress costing thousands of dollars, despite not being made of obviously fancy materials (like leather).
* StealingTheCredit: Katharine intends to pass off Tess' ideas as her own...and reap the rewards for them.
* TheTriple: Cyn, flirting with Jack Trainer while pretending to be Tess's secretary.
--->'''Cyn:''' "Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea? Me?"
* UmbrellaDrink: Jack Trainer gets two of them while he and Tess crash the Trask wedding. Both of the drinks are for him.
* WoundedGazelleGambit: Katherine uses an ''actual'' injury to gain sympathy when she barges into the meeting. Realizing that people might actually listen to Tess and not her, she fakes a dizzy spell, instantly garnering concern and attention from the other attendees.