The Associate

5.0 3
Director: Donald Petrie

Cast: Donald Petrie, Whoopi Goldberg, Dianne Wiest, Eli Wallach


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In this comedy, a woman discovers that it's impossible to get ahead in business without a man to guide her -- so she invents one. Laurel (Whoopi Goldberg) is an expert financial analyst with a top Wall Street brokerage; however, she keeps getting passed over for raises and promotions, and she's convinced that no one at her firm takes her seriously because she's a


In this comedy, a woman discovers that it's impossible to get ahead in business without a man to guide her -- so she invents one. Laurel (Whoopi Goldberg) is an expert financial analyst with a top Wall Street brokerage; however, she keeps getting passed over for raises and promotions, and she's convinced that no one at her firm takes her seriously because she's a black woman. Frustrated, Laurel and her loyal assistant Sally (Dianne Wiest) open a new firm, but Laurel discovers that her fears were based firmly in reality: male clients don't want to take financial advice from women, especially women of color. So Laurel invents a white man, Robert S. Cutty, to be the firm's top adviser. Speaking on Cutty's behalf, Laurel passes along the fictional man's advice, which her new clients find to be quite sound, and when they stop by to see him, he always manages to be out of the office (and why wouldn't a man so successful be busy?). The ruse seems to work, and soon Laurel's business is going great guns, but an increasingly large number of her clients want to see Cutty face to face, which won't be easy to pull off. However, with the help of a drag queen, Laurel tries to remake herself into Cutty for a night in order to keep her firm afloat. The Associate was based on a novel by author Jenaro Prieto.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
To its credit, The Associate never becomes fixated on Whoopi Goldberg's race, identifying her gender as the source of her exclusion from the giant gentleman's club that is Wall Street. This makes Goldberg what, by 1996, she undoubtedly preferred -- just a popular female actress, who can be divorced from her racial identity when it suits the story. But there aren't too many other surprises contained in The Associate, an amiable but unremarkable farce about how a woman creates an imaginary male partner in order to lend legitimacy to her own sterling business ideas. Donald Petrie's film has some smart comments to make about the business world, and Goldberg is mostly convincing, outside of several moments of sass that undercut the credible businesswoman she's trying to show the world she is. What the viewer must accept is that Wall Street would go crazy over a phantom business entity whom no one has ever met, a ruse so fragile that it would crumble under the slightest poking from an investigative journalist. (And what a poor casting choice for that intrepid reporter role -- big-haired fiftysomething Noo Yawker Cindy Mason [Lainie Kazan], who walks around grotesquely dangling a cigarette, seeming like a total finance novice). But most farces rely on such suspension of disbelief, and the film actually takes flight when Goldberg dons her Robert Cutty outfit -- a Marlon Brando mask applied convincingly enough to make her look like a real, if slightly mummified, white man. Dianne Wiest is at her perky best as Goldberg's assistant, and when these two over-40 women take the market by storm, it's a nice goose of populist feminism.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Walt Disney Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Whoopi Goldberg Laurel
Dianne Wiest Sally
Eli Wallach Fallon
Tim Daly Frank
Bebe Neuwirth Camille
George Morfogen Plaza Manager
Zeljko Ivanek SEC Agent Thompkins
Miles Chapin Harry
Donald Trump Himself
Austin Pendleton Aesop
Lainie Kazan Cindy Mason
George Martin Manchester
Ken Kerr Charlie
Lee Wilkof Bissel
Helen Hanft Mrs. Cupchick
Alberto Alejandrino Maître D' At Peabody Club
Joel Blake Poker Palyer
Craig Braun Disgruntled Investor
Leon Addison Brown reporter
Ted Brunetti Fallon's Messenger
Judith Calder Audience Member
Jean de Baer loan officer
Darryl Edwards executive At Strip Club
Jonathan Freeman Hockey Game Executive
Roy Gerson Orchestra Fallon Ball Band
Larry Gilliard Plaza Bellhop Thomas
Jerry Hardin Harley Mason
Baxter Harris Disgruntled Investor
William Hill Detective Templeton
Allison Janney Sandy
Billy Jaye Plaza Reporter
Vincent Laresca Plaza Men's Room Attendant
Robert Levin Door Slam Executive
Corrine Manning Fallon Ball Band
Kathleen McClellan Frank's Girlfriend
Boris McGiver Plaza Reporter
Bernie McInerney Cilent At Cutty/Ayres
Peter McRobbie Executive At Strip Club
Johnny Miller Himself
Liana Pai Plaza Concierge Charlotte
Sally Jessy Raphael herself
Rex Robbins Investor At 21 Club
Frederick Rolf Carl Bode
John Rothman Jogging Track Executive
Socorro Santiago Syntonex Worker
John Short Harley's Associate
Brian Tarantina Eddie
Louis Turenne Peabody Club Concierge
Thomas Wagner Harley's Associate
Katherine Wallach reporter
Ira Wheeler Investor At 21 Club
Colleen Camp Detective Jones
Ginny Yang Funeral Reporter

Technical Credits
Donald Petrie Director
Vebe Borge Asst. Director
Mary Colquhoun Casting
Robert W. Cort Executive Producer
April Ferry Costumes/Costume Designer
Ted Field Executive Producer
René Gainville Co-producer
Frederic Golchan Producer
Barklie K. Griggs Musical Direction/Supervision
Michael A. Helfant Co-producer
Rosa Howell-Thornhill Sound/Sound Designer
Andrew Jackness Production Designer
Bonnie Koehler Editor
Scott Kroopf Executive Producer
Adam Leipzig Producer
David Madden Executive Producer
Patrick Markey Producer
Philip Messina Art Director
Alex Nepomniaschy Camera Operator
Nick Thiel Screenwriter
Christopher Tyng Songwriter

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The Associate 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always liked Whoopi Goldberg, but this movie made me love and respect her. She played her role very well and made me see the character, not Whoopi. Way to go Mrs. Goldberg.
Smokeyone More than 1 year ago
This movie is good for a rainy day, a good laugh, and a cup of coffee/tea. Good actors, plot, and theme; the technology in the storyline has arrived right in the palm of your hand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A powerfull story of triumph over adversity. That's what Whoopi Goldberg accomplished in one of her best performances as a woman trying to make it in a mans world. As an exceptionally bright business woman Whoopi's character has the business savvy to make it to the top. All she needs is someone to listen and take notice. But, Whoopi's male assistant steals her ideas and passes them off as his own. Tired of the backstabbing she decides to quit and create her own company but noone will look at her ideas, ideas that could save millions, because she's not a man. To become one of the guys she has to become one. Great from beginning to end...and what an ending! A must see comedy, especially for the holidays.