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Working Girl (1988)
Character: Tess McGill
Actor: Melanie Griffith
Tess McGill’s plan to pretend to be her conniving, two-faced boss Katharine (Sigourney Weaver) while said boss recovers from a skiing accident is working out pretty well. Tess has successfully gotten dashing investment broker Jack Trainer onboard with her plan, and the two have intense chemistry outside of the office as well.
What’s the best way to signal how well things are going in the office and at home for our gal Tess? With a quick montage of her doing a variety of successful “having it all” businesswoman things, like...vacuuming in nothing but underwear and heels. You know, as you do, to show the audience in your apartment (which I hope doesn’t exist) how much you’re finally coming to embrace your power as both an executive (the heels) and a woman (the exposed breasts). What this scene is doing in an otherwise extremely pro-female and anti-sexism film, we’ll never know.
Watch Working Girl: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes
Coming to America (1988)
Role: Royal bathers
Actors: Felicia Taylor, Midori
“The royal penis has been washed.” This is all you really get to hear from these nameless servants, who attend to his royal highness' morning toilette so he doesn't have to lift a finger, even to bathe his most private of areas.
Watch Coming to America: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix
Role: Ginger Knowles
Actor: Halle Berry
Director Dominic Sena told the New York Daily News that producer Joel Silver and Warner Bros promised Berry an additional $500,000 on top of her $2 million salary if she appeared topless in Swordfish. Berry insisted that wasn’t why she agreed to do it. She told Entertainment Weekly that Sena’s remark that she was getting $250,000 per breast to go topless in the movie was a joke.
Berry had recently won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her role in HBO’s Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, and said that, “So much of my life I was afraid to [do a nude scene]. With the success of my Dorothy Dandridge project and the critical acclaim that brought me, I finally felt that I didn’t have to prove myself anymore.”
Joel Silver told EW, “I’ve known Halle for years, and I felt this was time for her to do this. I think it’s cool for the character and good for the box office.”
Yeah, that’s the real bottom line here. Berry’s bare breasts were supposed to increase the box office take of this extremely subpar hacker movie. It’s too bad she chose to do her first topless scene — which was, in fact, the definition of gratuitous, because it served absolutely no function in moving the plot forward — in such a mediocre movie.
Watch Swordfish: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix
The Room (2003)
Actor: Juliette Danielle
“You are TEARING ME APART, Lisa”...with your excessively long sex scenes that very much resemble soft-core porn.
Sadly, The Room is not streaming anywhere online. YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, Amazon/iTunes/Google Play/Netflix.
Knocked Up (2007)
Role: Alison Scott
Actor: Katherine Heigl
This movie is fairly tame when it comes to sex and nudity, lulling the audience into a false sense of security. Alison (Heigl) keeps her bra on during sex. We see Ben’s (Seth Rogen) bare butt for the briefest of moments. Then, it happens. During the birth scene, we’re treated to a shot of the baby’s head crowning.
The rest of the movie is so grounded in reality that the cutaway looks almost like something taken from the Miracle of Life or some other instructional video about what happens during childbirth. It’s unclear whether writer-director Judd Apatow is trying to celebrate the wonder of what happens to a woman’s body during labor, or truly horrify and shock the viewing audience with a John Hurt in Alien moment (viewers of the British show Coupling will get that reference). Either way, is it really necessary to see a baby crowning if you’re not about to have one of your own?
Watch Knocked Up: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes