Starring James Spader, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lesley Ann Warren, Jeremy
Screenplay by Steven Shainberg and Erin Cressida Wilson
Based on a story by Mary Gaitskill
Directed by Steven Shainberg
IN SHORT: Great Poster. [Rated R for strong sexuality, some nudity,
depiction of behavioral disorders, and language. 104 minutes]
I have been such a good girl that the doctors say I can leave the Institution
to attend my sister's wedding and, if I can find a good, stable job, I
can take my place in society. Mommy (Lesley Ann Warren)
is watching me like a hawk because she loves me but she didn't find "my
secret" stashed under the mattress. I won't need all those sharp,
pointy things to cut and scar and punish this bad, bad, bad girl because
the doctors say I'm rehabilitated. Still, nostalgia is a good thing and
if I'm really good I won't need to punish myself.
Oh joy of joys! I've found a real job for a great lawyer. It was like
Kismet. He had an ad in the paper and a permanent sign -- with flashing
lights and everything saying "Secretary Wanted" -- outside his
door and his last secretary was leaving in tears just as I got there.
She must have been a bad, bad girl. My new boss says he's "shy"
but I think he's just old fashioned. He hates computers and makes me use
a typewriter. That means I have to be really, really careful with my typing
because if I make a mistake he circles it in red and makes me redo the
page again and again. It's a good thing I kept my stash of sharp and pointy
things because I am a bad, bad girl.
I am a bad, bad girl. I try and try and try to work that typewriter correctly
all day long and I just can't seem to get anything write, sorry, right.
E. Edward Grey (James Spader) finally hit -- hee, hee,
hee -- his limit and I thought that it was all over but, no, I was a bad,
bad girl and deserved to be punished and he did and it was wonderful!
Oh, Diary, I think I'm in love! Not like in love with my boyfriend Peter
(Jeremy Davies) who wants to marry me. He just doesn't
understand my needs and, finally, I've found a man who understands that
I'm really a bad, bad girl and knows what to do about it!
Dear Penthouse Forum,
I never thought I'd be writing to you but it finally happened to me in
real life so I guess all those letters aren't really written by your staff
writers at all! I'm a lawyer in a small community and a very good one,
too. I don't think it's too much to expect for my employees to put themselves
one hundred percent into their jobs, which is why I don't like computers
or other high technology. Technology keeps people apart. When I find a
mistake in a document, it is important that my secretary understands that
this is important work and that mistakes of any kind cannot be tolerated.
Sure, that means long hours as a line of incompetent secretaries redo
page after page after page, which means no life outside of the office
(but then, I'm a really shy guy and love has never looked my way). Until
my latest hire, Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal). She
is pretty. She is hard working. She understands that, despite what the
State says about employer-employee relationships, that mistakes are unacceptable
in this profession. And, despite what the State says about employer-employee
relationships, when she is bad she knows her place is to be bent over
my desk so I can apply a good spanking! Spank! Spank! Spank!
Sometimes I have to spank her more than
once a day. Sometimes more than twice. Spank! Spank! Spank! Oh, Forum,
she's perfect. My life is now perfect! Work and Spanking! Spanking and
Work. The problem is, how can you have a relationship with an employee
and maintain credibility?
Dear CrankyCritic.com readers,
So... can you take the black leather and bondage gadgets out of a good
dominance and submission love story and still have a touching, warm-the-cockles
kind of good time? No. You still need the bondage gadgets, which is close
to the first thing you see in Steven Shainberg's Secretary,
and it's good for a quick laugh. Still, a dominance and submission fantasy
draped in the veneer of a tender love story is still a dominance and submission
fantasy. Just the kind of in the face storytelling that is beloved at
film festivals. Not by us.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky
able to set his own price to Secretary, he would have paid . .