Bette Midler and Shelley Long star in this female buddy picture from 1987. Long plays Lauren Ames, an actress whose ambition far outweighs her success despite her many years of taking classes; Midler plays Sandy Brozinsky, a fast-talking, foul-mouthed waitress from the wrong side of the tracks who horns her way into Lauren's exclusive drama class on a lark. Unbeknown to each other, Sandy and Lauren are both seeing the same impossibly perfect man, Michael Santers (Peter Coyote). When Michael inexplicably fakes his death, Sandy and Lauren wind up joining forces to track him down. A wacky, cross-country caper ensues, and both women discover that there's a lot more to the man they love—not to mention their suspiciously homicidal Russian acting coach—than they ever imagined.
This film provides examples of:
Adults Dressed as Children: Lauren and Sandy sneak into a whorehouse thinking they're convincingly disguised as men; the madame takes them for thirteen-year-old boys. Our intrepid heroines run with it.
Madame: Does your daddy know you're here?
Lauren (in cowboy accent): Hell, yes, he told us where to come! Come, git it?
Bad Bad Acting: Practiced by all of Stan's students, as he enjoys pointing out.
Beware the Quiet Ones: Lauren, fed up with the mystery, kicks open a crackhouse door, waves a toy gun around (back in a day when toy guns looked real), and starts impersonating a cop. Even Sandy is shocked.
Cheap Costume: The ladies are forced to improvise quite frequently.
Chekhov's Armory: The film is made of this. The climax, in fact, centers around pretty much everything we saw Lauren doing in her acting and ballet classes at the very beginning. (Also, Sandy's stolen Christmas tree ornament comes in pretty handy.)
Daddy's Girl: Lauren is this, as we see when she tries to borrow money for Korzenowsky's class from her parents. Her mother won't let her in the door; her father throws her a check from the window of their high-rise.
Defector from Commie Land: Stan's way of avoiding repercussions back in Mother Russia. He is even able to bargain for perks, including a condo on the Potomac and Redskins season tickets.
Mugged for Disguise: Lauren and Sandy appropriate Frank's clothes. (At least they're nice enough to leave him their skirts and blouses.)
The Ophelia: Well, in a literal way: Sandy plays Ophelia in the production of Hamlet at the end.
The Power of Acting: It turns out that Lauren's many years of studying the theater pay off in tracking down Michael and foiling the bad guys.
Ransacked Room: The film plays this straight, then spoofs it. First, the two women go to Lauren's apartment while it's being ransacked. After a daring escape, they head to Sandy's place to find it a complete mess as well. Lauren cries, "Oh, no, they've been here!" and tries to run, but Sandy grabs her and says, "Nobody's been here. This is normal."