1982's Tootsie tells the story of Dustin Hoffman playing a struggling actor named Michael Dorsey. He's actually an excellent actor and everyone, including his respected agent, admires his work. The problem is that he can't hold a job down because he's such a damned perfectionist and no one will hire him because he's just too difficult to work with. He's also almost 40 and hasn't had an acting job in four months.
His friend Teri Garr has an unsuccessful audition for a role on a soap opera called Southwest General and both out of desperation and in need of raising money to put on his room mate's new play, he decides to audition himself.
Using his skill of doing his own makeup, Michael becomes Dorothy Michaels, flunks the audition, tells the pompous director to fuck himself and is hired by the female producer.
The sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot director is played by wonderfully played by Dabney Coleman, who also played a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot executive in 9 to 5
What makes this film great, aside from being hilarious and the hijinks that ensue from Michael working in drag and trying to maintain a personal life is that you tend to forget that Dustin Hoffman is playing Dorothy. You forget that this is a man playing Dorothy, he's just that good at it.
My favourite character is this film is Bill Murray playing Michael's room mate. Bill Murray was a big star at this point, but he's wonderful in this small role and apparently he improvised his lines.
Dorothy Michaels objects to most of her lines and the way her character is written, so she makes up her own lines and turns the character into a tough, well-rounded woman, which you don't normally see on soap operas. As a result she becomes America's hottest new actress.
On the other hand, Michael falls for Dorothy's co-star and new best friend Julie, a single mother in an unhealthy relationship with the director. And Julie's widowed father falls for Dorothy.
"That is one nutty hospital"