Directed by Herbert Ross, The Secret of My Succe$s follows Michael J. Fox’s Brantley Foster as he attempts to get ahead by posing as an ambitious executive within his New York City-based workplace – with the movie detailing his efforts at keeping the ruse going while also wooing a fellow employee (Helen Slater’s Christy Wills). Filmmaker Ross, working from a script by Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr., and AJ Carothers, delivers a basically-entertaining comedy that’s overflowing with time-specific elements (ie this movie couldn’t possibly feel more a product of the 1980s), with the picture’s mild success ultimately due almost entirely to the efforts of its almost impossibly charismatic star – as Fox’s winning work here generally proves effective at compensating for a bloated narrative that’s not quite as propulsive as one might’ve hoped. The inclusion of a handful of admittedly appealing and amusing set-pieces (eg a few irresistible wacky misunderstandings) goes a long way towards perpetuating the agreeable atmosphere, although the plot likely contains one or two more complications than strictly necessary and it’s clear, ultimately, that the movie could’ve easily been cut down by about 20 minutes. Still, The Secret of My Succe$s is a breezy enough endeavor that benefits substantially from Fox’s magnetic, stellar turn (ie it’s hard to imagine the movie faring this well with virtually any other actor in the central role).
*** out of ****