Melanie Griffith, excellent in another strong 1988 film, STORMY MONDAY, gives an even more dazzling performance here as Tess McGill, an industrious secretary at a brokerage firm who longs to break out of the secretarial mold. After a run-in with her boss, she finds herself in a

last-chance opportunity as the secretary to Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). The astute secretary has an idea for putting together a deal for a client (Philip Bosco). Later, while Katharine recovers from a skiing accident, Tess learns that her boss has been moving ahead on the idea with no

apparent intention of giving Tess any credit. Tess decides to engineer the big deal herself, with the help of Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford), an outside deal-maker who also happens to be Katharine's lover. Director Mike Nichols (THE GRADUATE, CATCH-22, BILOXI BLUES) demonstrates again his assured

command of the film medium--coaxing outstanding performances from lead and supporting players alike, using the camera to brilliant effect, and infusing the story with tension, romance, and humor. Funny, touching, and ultimately tremendously buoyant--reflecting the optimism engendered by the

shortlived 1980s economic boom--WORKING GIRL is a "feel good" movie with some intelligence. However, its Horatio Alger premise--that hard work, pluck, and intelligence are inevitably rewarded in the world of business--may be hard to swallow, particularly in an era of diminishing expectations.