Brantley Foster comes from a small town you've definitely never heard of somewhere in Kansas. But small-town living isn't for him, so he leaves for New York to find fame and fortune. When he gets there, it's tougher than he thought, so when he learns of a distant uncle who runs a multi-million dollar company, he pulls a few strings and gets his break - a job in the mailroom.
But delivering Uncle Howard's mail isn't enough, especially when he meets the girl of his dreams, Christy Wills. So armed only with his access to company information and his winning smile, Brantley blags his way into senior management by posing as a new, thrusting executive called Carlton Whitfield.
His efforts to win over Christy and earn his fortune are somewhat hampered by his need to stay one step ahead of his uncle, and at least one step ahead of Aunt Vera, who made her plans for him very clear indeed.....
The Secret Of My Success is, on the surface, a typical American 80s movie. But it stands out from the crowd for a number of reasons. Firstly, Michael J Fox is perfect for the role of Brantley Foster. His role seems a natural progression from the high-school kids he played in Back To The Future and Teen Wolf into a young adult setting out in the big world of business. Secondly the supporting cast make his job simple, because whilst this movie is definately a vehicle for Fox, actors such as Richard Jordan, Helen Slater and the superb Margaret Whitton as Aunt Vera more than make their mark. And thirdly, the script is full of twists and turns as the tactics Brantley employs to pursue Christy (whilst avoiding Uncle Howard and Aunt Vera) get more and more desperate, culminating in a scene at their country mansion that's pure West End farce.
And even the difficulties director Herbert Ross encountered were overcome so cleanly you hardly notice them (such as the height difference between Fox and Slater that meant difficult shooting angles - or boxes, one would guess...)
Overall? If you like movies from the 1980s, you'll love this. It's quirky, fast-paced and fun, whilst retaining a great deal of familiarity.
My abiding memory of this is Smash Hits saying Helen Slater had cardboard hair. Watching it now, its greatest asset is Michael J. Fox making a yuppie seem almost human, and it's so eighties that it uses Oh Yeah by Yello not once but twice. Nice to see Hans Moretti as one of the businessmen as well.