Girls! Girls! Girls! Where, indeed, would the world of the adult film be without the lovely girls! Well, one might even push the envelope a bit further and ask where would the world of work be without the same girls, girls, girls. In 1980, Hollywood even tapped into the zeitgeist of the corporate world when 20th Century Fox released its hit comedy, NINE TO FIVE, which explored the personal and professional exploits of women in the workplace … as well as the men who exploited them. Two years later, the premise of the film was turned into a hit TV show. And the adult film industry has always loved to honor a successful mainstream film with a porn-fueled alternative, so what’s not to love about a film titled HORNY WORKING GIRL: FROM 5 TO 9?
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Chieko Kuwano (played by the lovely Junko Asahina) is an up-and-coming office assistant manager to a corporate office in Japan. She allows herself to be seduced by her new corporate boss in order to get ahead. However, once she’s on-the-job for him, he loses interest in favor of his young, nubile administrative assistant Mari, which only brings the man more ire from his already unsatisfied wife, Mayumi. What are three women to do? Why, they’ll band together and turn the tables on the man if that means they can finally achieve their sexual revenge!
Without a doubt, HORNY WORKING GIRL: FROM 5 TO 9 intended to cash in on the whole NINE TO FIVE fad established by 20th Century Fox, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The script by Shigeko Sato shamelessly borrows ideas and characters from the established film, and then he upends them into a comedy of manners for the workplace. One could make a solid argument that most of the comedic elements still work even today as the trend for having powerful women in charge has only continued to grow since the early ‘80’s.
5 TO 9 opens with an infectious disco theme that serves to successful ‘date’ the film. It practically informs today’s audience that they’re being magically transported to another time and another place for the purposes of this workday fable. And not even five minutes in, the viewers are treated to their first sexual encounter … or so they’re led to believe! Life, after all, is all about experimentation, and that’s what takes place throughout the film: everyone experiments with everyone else (or even the machines) for the purposes of sexual gratification or the fulfillment of fantasy.
There are plenty of ideas explored here. Kuwano experiments with an ‘electric cream’ that’s supposed to enhance her libido, and it goes into high gear in the most inopportune moment. There’s a brief schoolgirl fetish sequence (about the 16 min. mark) with a foreigner who needs to be watched in order to achieve intimacy. There’s an obligatory shower scene (25 min. mark), and even a prescient “put ‘em on the glass” moment (32 min. mark) and much, much more crammed into the film’s lean, mean 66 minutes.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s an event in there that could serve to produce some controversy because of the way it’s handled creatively: Mari gets cornered in the corporate bathroom after hours by three surly men on the cleaning crew, and – as you might guess – they take turns having their way with the young woman. However (and, no, I’m not justifying this, I’m only seeking to clarify it) the audience is soon to learn that she enjoyed it much more than she let on during that sequence, which is broken up by a similar escapade taking place in the boss’s office. It’s all about fulfillment – not necessarily trying to make a social statement – as this is all intended to be ‘humorous.’
Much like what happens to set the final events in motion in NINE TO FIVE, the same goes down in 5 TO 9. The women – seeking a kind of contemporary solidarity – band together first for solace, then for eroticism, and finally for all out retaliation against the man who’s inflicted so much personal pain (and pleasure) in their lives. Don’t fret too much along the way, and you’ll find everyone gets a happy ending … and I guess that was a pun intended.
HORNY WORKING GIRL: FROM 5 TO 9 is produced by Miyo Akiyama and directed by Katsuhiko Fujii. DVD distribution (stateside) is being handled through Impulse Pictures under their Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection. For those needing it spelled out perfectly, this is a Japanese spoken language release with English subtitles (no English dubbing available). As for the technical specifications, the picture looks and sounds very solid, especially given the fact that this is over thirty years old and has probably been sitting in a vault since then. As is often the case, this release is slim on extras: there’s only the original theatrical trailer and some liner notes (a brief essay) from Japanese film scholar Jasper Sharp.
RECOMMENDED. Broad comedy works in sex and/or sex-related storytelling whereas undiluted farce tends to discourage audience members, and HORNY WORKING GIRL: FROM 5 TO 9’s winning formula of parodying the ideas of the Hollywood comedy 9 TO 5 (starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton) proves a success here. There are some moments played a bit too zany for my tastes, but, all-in-all, this one was clearly intended for good clean fun mostly (even a three-time bathroom sexual assault gets brushed over by the victim’s childish smile of delight once she’s discovered).
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Impulse Pictures provided me with a DVD copy of HORNY WORKING GIRL: FROM 5 TO 9 by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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