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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 ... 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:

A new comedy for everyone who ever wanted to do to the System what the System's been doing to them. 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

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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

Final film of Byron Morrow. See more »

Goofs

A crew member is visible in a car bumper at the start of the garage sale scene. See more »

Quotes

Elaine: I know how to get the money out of the money ball!
Louise: How?
Elaine: Suck!
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

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Bill Murray/Delbert McClinton (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

funny 70s comedy
9 May 2001 | by thomandybishSee all my reviews

After the success of NINE TO FIVE(another all-female lead comedy that took pot shots at the then-current economic malaise), the public was treated to HOW TO BEAT THE HIGH COST OF LIVING, a film that rides mainly on the comic efforts of Susan Saint-James, Jane Curtain, and Jessica Lange. All three women are facing various economic crises: Saint-James is a divorcee struggling with late child-support payments from her high-school coach ex; Curtain is a housewife dumped by her two-timing husband; and Lange is a dentist's wife whose side-line hobby of an antique store is breaking them. What to do? Plan a heist from a public relations gimmick at a local mall: a giant dome full of money that is the prize to a lottery. The comedy comes from the way these three bandits plan their rip-off. The film is full of various in-jokes about inflation and the energy crisis which used to look dated but now are becoming painfully relevant again. Garrett Morris takes a great cameo as an electric company worker whom Jane Curtain tries to hoodwink into turning her electricity back on. ("What's that mother? Your dialysis machine stopped going cur-chunk, cur-chunk? No, I'm not on the phone with Oral Roberts!")Not a masterpiece, to be sure, but a fun way to while away the time.


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