Julie Styron thinks she is going to be fired, but instead discovers that she is being promoted. Trapped in an airport hotel, she wants to celebrate but finds only the company of her young assistant, Paula Murphy. As the night progresses, the two women get to know each other. They flirt, they drink, they lie; personal flaws are revealed and exposed. But at the end of the night their relationship turns and becomes a complex battle of power, authority, and wit.
In this savage satire of corporate life, Stockard Channing is Julie, a lonely, single businesswoman at the top of her profession, and Julia Stiles is her young upstart assistant Paula. In a hotel over many Scotches, Paula, who may be psychotic, incites Julie to collaborate on the vengeful humiliation of a slippery corporate headhunter who may have committed a rape. Although the movie goes overboard and lacks the symmetry and lethal bite of films like "In the Company of Men" and "Tape," it is powerfully acted and its vision of the sterility of corporate life casts a deep chill. – Stephen Holden
2001-12-07 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of The Business of Strangers