The Secret of My Success

Published September 8, 2018

The Secret of My Success

Film info

  • Title The Secret of My Success
  • Director Herbert Ross
  • Year 1987
  • Run time 1hr 51m
  • Genre Comedy
  • Tagline There's no such thing as an overnight success. Brantley Foster took two weeks.

Can a kid from Kansas come to New York to conquer the business world and maneuver his way from the mailroom to the boardroom in a matter of weeks? Michael J. Fox proves it can be done in this very funny lampoon of corporate business life. Fresh out of college, he's determined to climb New York's corporate ladder in record time by masquerading as an up-and-coming executive, even though he's really the new mail boy. However, Fox's plans begin to go awry when the boss's wife falls in love with him and he falls in love with a junior executive, who also happens to be the boss's mistress.

Live blog

Time Comment
1:20 - It’s so useful for cities to have recognisable icons, like yellow taxis.
4:48 - “I should warn you, I’m packing an iron.”
6:24 - I don’t miss that catch-22 time of not being able to get a job without experience.
13:27 - They need better soundproofing in their office.
15:08 - You can do anything if you put your mind to it, Marty. I mean Brad.
16:26 - No one looks elegant drinking from a water fountain, get lost.
18:35 - Woah, that’s Merc Lapidus! Baby Merc!
20:20 - I’m loving these mail machines. Need an Inside the Factory on this.
22:43 - This dude has a vendetta against the suits.
26:56 - Who knew a car had so many euphemisms?
32:18 - “Can I make a personal observation?” “Anything but the thighs.”
35:10 - This woman appears to arrive everywhere with her own soundtrack.
40:12 - Michael J’s character has the opposite of imposter syndrome. He drastically believes he should be there even though all the evidence suggests otherwise.
41:35 - “There’s enough talk in the world already.” I like her.
58:24 - He’s got this quick change thing down to a fine art. Like an office-based Superman.
1:00:30 - “Davis here has prepared what I’m sure is a thoroughly incompetent analysis but let’s listen to him read it before we start criticising it.”
1:05:37 - Loving Shiela! And she was great as the doctor in the last film too. Amaze.
1:08:14 - Speeeeeed! Relationships based on intense experiences.
1:14:47 - Dude does a lot of sliding!
1:24:12 - I’m exhausted. So many lies.
1:33:30 - My head is fizzing.
1:43:40 - Boardroom politics makes me squirm a little. A lot.


Project “Catch up Michael J Fox’s back catalogue” continues with this film that is a bit of a mish-mash of genres. There’s a legitimate business story in there, hidden away beneath layers of fish-out-of-water comedy, slapstick craziness, and a love-triangle cherry on the top. Although it doesn’t quite know what it’s trying to be, I still really enjoyed the film.

Fox is brilliant as the genius kid who knows he can do better, and undermines the horrible boss every step of the way - getting involved with his wife, his mistress, and his business restructuring plans. It was fun to see such a young Merc and I quite enjoyed all the characters except Christy. Not a fan of that one.

Towards the end, as things were getting more complicated and more desperate, it got a bit stressful but I like the way it all worked out because I wasn’t sure there was going to be a satisfactory conclusion from the mess everyone was in! Thankfully, there was, and that’s another Michael J movie ticked off the list!

Rating: 4/5.

Rating: 4 / 5

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