Body Language

In this clumsy melodrama, Heather Locklear stars as Betsy Frieze, a rising executive in an investment firm; her new secretary is Norma Suffield, portrayed by Linda Purl (Undercover). Norma is ambitious too: She doesn’t just want Betsy’s job, she wants her life. In her off-hours, Norma begins dressing and talking like Betsy and makes a play for Betsy’s boyfriend (James Acheson). Pretty soon, Norma is pulling out big butcher knives and plunging them into…Well, maybe you’ll watch this odd combination — Working Girl meets Fatal Attraction — so I won’t give it away.

The most notable aspect of Body Language is the way it uses bodies: Each main character is introduced with a shot of his or her legs and feet. Why? Who knows — it seems to be just a distracting quirk of director Arthur Allan Seidelman’s. This TV movie supposedly addresses female concerns — women’s roles in business, sexual harassment (Betsy is pawed by her boss, played by Eddie Albert Jr.). But behind the scenes, the film is male dominated: In addition to director Seidelman, Language was written by Dan Gurskis and Brian Ross, and not one of them seems able to bring these issues to life.

Locklear is effective as a grimly proficient yuppie, the sort of life-sapping person who dictates memos into a tape recorder while she jogs. But ultimately, Body Language is just another movie telling us that women are vulnerable whenever they’re not crazy. D

Body Language
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