TITLE: HOW TO BEAT THE HIGH COST OF LIVING was release in theaters in the United States on July 11 1980. How to Beat the High Cost of Living is a 1980 comedy film, starring Jane Curtin, Susan Saint James, and Jessica Lange. Also in the cast are Dabney Coleman, Fred Willard, Richard Benjamin, Eddie Albert, Cathryn Damon, and a cameo by Jane Curtin's fellow Saturday Night Live co-star Garrett Morris.
SUMMARY: Jane (Susan Saint James), Elaine (Jane Curtin), and Louise (Jessica Lange) are three suburbanites in Eugene, Oregon. These three women have been friends since high school, and are currently all struggling through the recession of the early 1980s. Jane is divorced, trying to cope with the man she is dating, Robert (Fred Willard), her newly-single father (Eddie Albert) who has just moved in with her after his wife leaves him for another woman, and her two young children, one boy and his younger sister whom needs dental work. At the same time as Robert needs thousands to buy his half of a business, Jane learns she is pregnant, which leaves neither of them very happy since both are near broke. Elaine's husband, an architect, has recently left her for a younger woman. He has also left her with no money, no credit cards, and many bills, all of which are very overdue (leading later to a scene with a man at the power company (Garrett Morris). She decides the best way to deal with this surprise situation by getting drunk and going for a drive, where she's caught by police officer Jack (Dabney Coleman). Due to the attraction, they both feel for one another, he lets her poor judgment slide. She finds that even a garage sale, in which she tries to sell everything her husband owned - including his deodorant - doesn't bring in any money. Louise owns and operates an antiques store; unfortunately, it's not a very successful operation, and she is always accepting funds from her veterinarian husband (Richard Benjamin) to keep the store open. While they are in bed one evening, in the early process of making love, she learns he plans to sue her to force her into bankruptcy and thereby wipe away the enormous debt she has incurred. At the peak of their woes, Elaine visits the local mall, where an acquaintance (Cathryn Damon) has pushed her into helping out with lighting a small pageant being held there. Making a phone call, she stares at the large, clear ball in the middle of the mall, which is soon due to hold thousands and thousands of dollars in giant cash "give away" and suddenly formulates the idea of stealing the money so the three of them can all get the money they need. She calls them to the mall, where they scheme to steal the money during the "give away" by drilling a hole beneath the cash ball and sucking out as much cash as possible with a high-powered vacuum, then escaping to the river behind the mall. Despite being caught in the act of stealing, some of the items needed for the heist by officer Jack, Elaine once again manages to sweet-talk their way out of being taken to prison. Later, on the evening of the heist, each of them finds an unexpected distraction but finally find their way to the mall, where Jane and Louise begin their work beneath the cash ball, and Elaine readies herself to throw the switch to the mall's light controls (which would give them all enough time to finish the job and escape unnoticed). Unfortunately, a minor occurrence takes place during both the giveaway and the pageant, nearly causing the police to notice the noise caused by Jane and Louise stealing the money. With no other way to distract the police, and the audience present, Elaine begins to rant about the high cost of living and how so many things cost "the shirt off your back - and even THAT'S not enough!" Very soon, she starts an impromptu striptease and ends with exposing her bosom to the crowd, effectively taking the attention away from what's REALLY going on. Shortly thereafter, one of the indoor light poles falls directly into the ball, sending cash flowing out into the mall, driving people into frenzy as they dive to collect the cash. Noticing the uproar going on above, Jane and Louise make their escape with two large trash bags filled with dollar bills, only to have their canoe tip over when Louise stands up.
QUESTIONS: When the money fell into the river what Jane have to do? Why were both Jane and Louise sitting on the riverbank? Why did Elaine have a blanket with her? What went floating down the river that caught the three girls' attention? Why did Jane marry Robert ? Why did Louise reopen her?
MY THOUGHTS: I love this movie because it caught my attention through the entire picture. I give Jane Curtin 6 stars because she wasn't bad in her movie debut. I thought that Jessica Lange was even better in her role as the doctor's wife. However, I bought this movie for two reasons. The first was Susan Saint James who looked great in jeans and everything else she wore. The second reason, Sybil Danning who was Albert receptionist and was excellent at it. Because of those two reasons, I give this movie 10 weasel stars.