Starring: Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Fred Ward
Director: Jim Abrahams
Running Time: 97 mins
Big Business is an American film about two sets of identical twins mismatched at birth who cross paths in a New York hotel, despite them having been through entirely different upbringings.
I had a good bit of fun with this film. Though it perhaps doesn’t fulfil its delightfully crazy potential, it’s full of hectic energy from start to finish, with leads Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin having a whale of a time in both of their double roles, proving charismatic enough to keep you engaged right the way through.
The overarching premise is simple. Two sets of identical twins from entirely different families were born in the same place, and one of each was swapped with the other. Decades later, they have grown up in entirely different circumstances, but soon are mistaken for one another in a comedy of errors unfolding in a New York hotel.
Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin both play two roles, as the upper-class, business-savvy New York sisters, and as the country-bumpkin sisters who come to the big city to save their own business. Of course, misidentifications begin the second they get off the plane, and chaos inevitably ensues.
The comedy of errors farce of it all is a lot of fun to watch, as the two pairs of sisters constantly miss each other by a hair in the hotel, yet all of the staff and people around them interact with them both, still thinking that there’s only one of each of them.
Admittedly, this kind of lunacy has the potential to be a properly, gut-bustingly funny comedy, which Big Business doesn’t exactly manage to pull off, perhaps spending too much time before it brings the two sister pairings together, which is arguably the most fun part of the whole film.
However, Midler and Tomlin’s leading performances are such fun that you can’t help but smile, seeing them really go all out with two delightfully stereotypical performances on opposite ends of the class spectrum, sparking laughs and silliness throughout.
So, while it’s not a world-beating comedy, Big Business is silly and hectic enough to make you chuckle throughout, complete with charmingly energetic performances from Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin. And that’s why I’m giving the film a 7.1 overall.