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How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980)

PG | | Comedy, Crime | 11 July 1980 (USA)
Oregon, 1980: Jane, Elaine and Louise are all feeling the effects of inflation and cannot afford, as the title states, the high cost of living. Jane cannot afford a babysitter or get ... See full summary »

Director:

Robert Scheerer

Writers:

Robert Kaufman (screenplay), Leonora Thuna (story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Saint James ... Jane
Jane Curtin ... Elaine
Jessica Lange ... Louise
Richard Benjamin ... Albert
Eddie Albert ... Max
Cathryn Damon ... Natalie
Dabney Coleman ... Jack Heintzel
Fred Willard ... Robert
Art Metrano ... Gas Station Attendant
Ronnie Schell ... Bill Pike
Michael Bell ... Tom
Sybil Danning ... Charlotte
Al Checco Al Checco ... Tim Lundy
Susan Tolsky Susan Tolsky ... Patty
Garrett Morris ... Power & Light Man
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Storyline

Oregon, 1980: Jane, Elaine and Louise are all feeling the effects of inflation and cannot afford, as the title states, the high cost of living. Jane cannot afford a babysitter or get married and if she wants privacy with her boyfriend, she has to sleep in the car. Even worse, her war veteran father comes to live with her to turn her life upside down. Louise lives a happy life with her veterinarian husband, Albert. She runs an antique shop on the side, but since it doesn't take in any profit, the IRS considers it a hobby. She needs to come up with the money to keep it going, or she will be trouble with the IRS. Elaine's husband has left her for another woman and without any money. She is in a constant struggle with banks, power companies, and gas stations. She needs money to get by and also catches the eye of police officer Jack. The local mall is having a contest that features a giant money ball that states it will help fight the inflation. Elaine comes up with a plan to steal the ... Written by Pat McCurry

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They're No Angels See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 July 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

How to Beat the High Cost of Living See more »

Filming Locations:

Eugene, Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$7,500,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Valley River Center, where the film's "mall scenes" are set, is indeed a thriving part of Eugene, OR, culture. However, the story is set during the commemoration of the "first anniversary of the Valley River Center." In actuality though, the Valley River Center had already been open for ten years as of the filming of this movie. See more »

Goofs

Jane claims to be familiar with paddling a canoe yet she sits in the wrong end when she begins to paddle it away while stealing it. See more »

Quotes

Jane: I know we've only got two days to go, but I don't know why you guys are so mad at me. You know I can't afford a baby-sitter, and Max is at a "Senior Citizens For Reagan" meeting tonight.
Elaine: Jesus, Jane. This is a royal pain in the ass. I mean, tonight's important. We're psychologically testing ourselves by robbing Wheeler's and you bring your kids along. Can't you leave them home just once?
Jane: Are you serious? The last time that I left those two alone Billy took nude pictures of Laurie with his ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Video versions edit a scene where Jessica Lange's character is hiding in the shoe store bathroom while one of the stage show performers comes in and uses it. It cuts off just as she notices the footsteps. The scene is most likely eliminated because the guy was singing and the song might be copyrighted. See more »

Connections

References The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Du rififi chez les femmes

Believe it or not, this movie actually has some resemblance with Jules Dassin's famous heist classic. OK, it's not Paris, France here. But Eugene, Oregon is a nice place, too. People who are familiar with the town probably will have a few extra laughs. The actual heist in a shopping mall is really well filmed and not entirely implausible. Contrary to the men's rififi the women work their way up from below, but I do not want do disclose more.

How to Beat the High Co$t of Living is based on quite a good and easily digestible script, although some of the jokes are predictable or fall a little flat. The first part of the movie deals with the individual reasons of the three women of different social backgrounds to plan and execute the heist. This gives some insight in the economic situation in the USA in the late 1970s.

Jane Curtin is great in the leading role, she has a terrific screen presence and can bare her teeth like no one else. Her job during the heist is to divert the attention of the crowd from the treasure while it is taken away and she really has some wonderful scenes. I also liked Richard Benjamin, Eddie Albert and Dabney Coleman as male support.

I can recommend this movie as a light yet insightful entertainment.


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