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How to Beat the High Cost of Living


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Editorial Reviews

Funny-women Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin and Oscar® winner* Jessica Lange "are a pleasure to watch" (The Film Journal) in this hysterically funny film about a trio of housewives whose desperate need for money delivers a sizable "supply of laughs" (Boxoffice)!Jane, Elaine and Louise are three women on the verge of a financial breakdown until they spot the "Money Ball," a game involving a six-foot sphere and tons of whirling cash. But Jane, Elaine and Louise don't want to play Money Ball'they want to steal it! Will these inexperienced thieves soon be "rolling in it" or will this first attempt at crime spin them right into jail?*1994: Actress, Blue Sky; 1982: Supporting Actress, Tootsie

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Susan Saint James, Jane Curtin, Jessica Lange, Richard Benjamin, Eddie Albert
  • Directors: Robert Scheerer
  • Writers: Robert Kaufman, Leonora Thuna
  • Producers: Jerome M. Zeitman, Robert Kaufman, Robin Krause, Samuel Z. Arkoff
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: February 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007GZRS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,718 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How to Beat the High Cost of Living" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Very funny, a true classic comedy.
LuckyLady5
I liked this cause it shows what can be done when you are desperate and have a good imagination.
Desiree Stevens
I have liked since the very first time I saw it on HBO all those years ago.
Chicago

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By jadedromantic on January 15, 2003
Format: DVD
I can't believe this is finally coming to DVD!! I taped it a couple of years ago off of cable, have loved this movie since I saw it in a theater when I was 18.
I skim Amazon.com all the time, looking to see what's coming out on DVD, and nearly jumped out of my seat when I saw this - if you like "9 to 5" and movies like it, this is a gem! Susan St. James, Jessie Lange, and Jane Curtin play women desperate for money for one reason or another - St. James wants to get married to her boyfriend and become respectable; Lange needs the money to keep her from losing her shop, a business that's been steadily losing money that her husband bought for her but now has to get rid of or he's in tax trouble; and Curtin is a divorcee just trying to survive.
The three women, struggling to beat the high cost of living, come across a brilliant idea - their local mall is having a contest, a huge plastic ball in the center of the mall will be filled with money, and you have to figure how much is in it. What the ladies come up with is a plan to enter to ball from underneath, cut through it and use a vacuum cleaner hose to suck out a good chunk of the money out for themelves.
The planning and execution of this caper - using only what resources the ladies can muster up on their own (which includes getting the tools for their crime by stealing them from St. James's boyfriend's hardware store, in a hilarious scene where the kids come along for the ride because St. James's character couldn't get a babysitter) - does not exactly go smoothly.
Of course in this movie, as in "9 to 5" and others like it, the execution of the crime does NOT come off without its share of glitches. But wow, is it fun to watch, enjoyable and light entertainment that will put a smile on your face long after you've seen it, just thinking about your favorite scenes.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2004
Format: DVD
This is a fabulous, light comedy with a great all-star cast. This is something that deserved to be re-done on DVD. The plot concerns three women who live in Oregon. Jane Curtain is the wife of a wealthy architect. She comes home one day to fine he's run off with another woman, the bank accounts are cleaned out, and he's nowhere to be found. Bills are coming due. Jessica Lange is the wife of a wealthy veternarian played by Richard Benjamin. Her antique store is never profitable and now he has to sue her to please the IRS. She doesn't want to lose the store. Jill St. James is a divorcee with two kids and a deadbeat ex-husband. Her father then moves in with her when her mother takes up with another woman. She's pregnant with her boyfriend and they want to marry, but he has a no-future job, unless he can get the money to buy his boss' hardware store.
All three are friends and all three have something in common: they need money, and they need it now. After some failed schemes to get some, they decide to pull a heist at the local mall.
This is hysterical and tremendously funny. It's nothing deep or life changing, just a lot of intense, non-serious humor, great characters and great situations. Sure, there are some holes and a few scenes don't quite work, but this is something that ought to be in your permanent collection if you like comedies. It's a little dated, but has not lost any of its humor over the years. It's similar to "9 to 5" but I think funnier.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By G. Mitchell on March 11, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remember seeing this in the theaters as a kid way back in 1980 (OK, now I officially feel OLD!)...anyway, this is a small, slight, yet hysterically funny and very smart comedy that somehow has fallen off the radar for most audiences - similar to Dolly, Jane, and Lily in "9 to 5," Jane, Jessica, and Susan make a terrific trio of would-be thieves trying to steal a load of cash from the "money ball" in a Pacific Northwest Mall. With cameos from Fred Willard, Eddie Albert, Richard Benjamin, and Dabney Coleman, the entire cast, the screenplay, the direction, and the tacky details of late 70s/early 80s middle-class America are all dead-on hilarious! If they can go ahead and ruin "Fun with Dick and Jane" by doing a remake, why hasn't anyone thought of remaking this underrated comedic gem? Seriously, if you love light, frothy, yet still-topical comedies, give HOW TO BEAT a whirl!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Husker Fan on December 16, 2002
Format: DVD
...The movie includes Jane Curtin, Susan St. James, and Jessica Lange who are feeling the crunch of the cost of living getting higher, while their paychecks stay the same. They notice a promotion at the mall which is holding Thousands of dollars and plan to steal the money. Very entertaining to watch how they plan to pull it off. The movie was first released in 1980, but you could easily remake the movie again today, as once again the high cost of living keeps on rising.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric Oppen on March 9, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although the details are dated, _How To Beat The High Co$t Of Living_ is freshly topical, with the economy in a bad way again. The three heroines' problems are, IMO, partly their own fault---but one has to root for their spunky, ingenious heist.
Jane Curtin improvising a striptease to cover her chums' getaway is a real highlight of the disc. She's game, sexy, and believable in her role---a really talented actress. And, for the record, the power is cut off only in _part_ of the mall, not the whole thing---I saw a review of the movie when it came out that didn't understand this point.
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