Big Business (1988)

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Released 18-Nov-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 93:47
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jim Abrahams

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Bette Midler
Lily Tomlin
Fred Ward
Edward Herrmann
Michele Placido
Daniel Gerroll
Barry Primus
Michael Gross
Deborah Rush
Nicolas Coster
Patricia Gaul
J.C. Quinn
Seth Green
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Lee Holdridge

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, the denouement, and triplets!

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This film opens some time ago ("big band" swing music in the soundtrack). A rich husband and wife are being driven through some backwoods area while they bicker fairly amiably about their impending child. Suddenly she's about to give birth, and they go to the only nearby hospital. He discovers that it is strictly only for the employees of HollowMade Furniture (the hospital is in Jupiter Hollow, hence HollowMade). He deals with this problem by buying HollowMade Furniture (clearly a very rich man). By chance, another (poorer) woman is also about to give birth in the hospital. Both women unexpectedly give birth to twin girls, but the babies get mixed up in their cribs. The rich couple choose to name their children Rose and Sadie, which the poorer husband overhears, and rather likes, so he suggests these names to his wife, and she agrees.

    Cut to today (well, closer to it: the film was made in 1988), and the rich Sadie (Bette Midler) is now vice-president of the corporation (Moramax — a play on Miramax, perhaps?) her late father ran. The rich Rose (Lily Tomlin) is also vice-president, but she's much softer than Sadie. Sadie has taken it into her head that the corporation should divest itself of HollowMade Furniture, because it's not a profitable concern. She has arranged to sell the company to an Italian businessman who intends to strip-mine the area, but she's concealing this to avoid "bleeding heart" resistance to the sale.

    Meanwhile, the poor Rose (Lily Tomlin) is a foreman at HollowMade Furniture, and she's organising resistance to the sale of the company, because she's concerned that the sale will mean the loss of jobs at the factory. She's assisted in her efforts by her sister Sadie (Bette Midler), but Sadie's efforts are somewhat less than whole-hearted.

    The stage is set, the players are ready. It all comes to a head when Rose and Sadie leave Jupiter Hollow for the first time in their lives, bound for New York and a stock-holders meeting at which the sale of HollowMade will be discussed.

    This is a very lively farce, with lots of mistaken identities and lot of misunderstandings. It's played at quite a rapid pace, and it all hangs together. It helps that Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin are both accomplished comic actresses. About the only drawback is that it tries a little too hard to play up the "hicks vs slicks" angle, but that's not too bad.

    Watch out for a young Seth Green as the rich Sadie's brat of a son.

    Some of the funniest moments take place silently during some of montage footage.

    This is quite entertaining, but not a headline movie. Save it for a Friday night after a long hard week, and you'll be able to unwind with some good laughs.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with 16x9 enhancement. That's the original aspect ratio, so there's nothing to complain about there.

    The image is a little soft, possibly due to film grain, but not enough to detract from enjoying the film. Shadow detail is a bit limited, but adequate. There's no low level noise.

    Colour is nicely rendered, and there are some nice bright colours (especially on some of the clothes). There are no colour-related artefacts, save for a hint of colour bleed on Bette Midler's bright red dress.

    There are plenty of small film artefacts, mostly flecks and specks, but there are a few scratches. None of these distract from enjoying the film.

    There is frequent mild aliasing, and some noticeable moiré (especially on Bette Midler's hound's-tooth suit, and her fine black and white pattern at 75:08). There is some background shimmer, but it's tolerable. There are no other MPEG artefacts.

    There are subtitles in six languages, and captions in English. I watched the English captions. They are well-timed, about as accurate as usual, and easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered. That means no layer change, but there's nothing in the way of extras to take up extra space on the disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The soundtrack is provided in English and Spanish, both in Dolby Digital 5.1, at 384kbps.

    The dialogue is easy enough to understand, even with the backwoods accents. Audio sync is fine.

    Lee Holdridge's score gets the job done, but it's nothing special. Perhaps the standout (positive or negative, depending on your attitude) is Bette Midler yodelling.

    Despite this being a 5.1 soundtrack, there's nothing of any significance directed to the surrounds, and the subwoofer gets nothing to do — that's not too surprising considering that this is not an action movie. There's some neat use of stereo spread during the confrontation.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is static and silent, but simple to use.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc was released in 2002. It's almost identical to this one (even the cover art is the same), except that it misses out on the Spanish soundtrack, and some of the subtitle tracks. Looks like you can choose either version without worrying.


    A lightweight but entertaining farce, given a decent bare-bones transfer to DVD.

    The video quality is good, but not stellar.

    The audio quality is good enough.

    The extras are completely absent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, June 06, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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