How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980)

How to Beat the High Cost of Living Poster

Oregon, 1980: Jane, Elaine and Louise are all feeling the effects of inflation and cannot afford 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.

Film Summary
"How to Beat the High Cost of Living", a comedy directed by Robert Scheerer and launched in 1980, is an amusing representation of 3 middle-class females fighting the pressures of the increasing expense of living in their rural neighborhood. The primary characters of the story, played by Jane Curtain, Susan Saint James, and Jessica Lange, are old buddies struggling with their special monetary troubles.

Character Backgrounds
Elaine (Jane Curtain) is an antique store owner dealing with insolvency due to dwindling clients, while also handling her divorce and custody battle. Louise (Susan Saint James) is a housewife encountering similar difficulty managing her big family with her husband having a hard time in his job as a vet, and Jane (Jessica Lange) is pregnant and deserted by her spouse, leaving her to support her son and coming infant alone.

Plot Development
Their monetary difficulties deepen as inflation rises, making standard products, from groceries to utility costs, impossible to afford. The unforeseen discovery of the town's upcoming promo, 'You Can Live for a Year for Free,' prompts a desperate, outrageous strategy to rob the promotional money ball to be held at the regional mall. The ball apparently contains around $1 million, an amount that these ladies believe might fix their financial woes, even if it involved criminal activity. Their planning, loaded with humorous, unrealistic concepts, produces laughably entertaining viewing.

Climactic Scene
The climax occurs on the day of the event when the trio, worn scuba suits, manage to reach the cash ball and puncture it from the within utilizing a taken tow truck's hook, releasing a flood of cash across the shopping center. While they are hugely effective in getting the cash, cops get here on the scene due to the fact that Elaine's separated other half, a police officer himself, had seen his better half's suspicious habits. However, amid the confusion, only Jane is detained given that she had chosen to sacrifice herself for the others.

Towards completion of the movie, Elaine and Louise handle to secure the stolen cash at Jane's house and later, with the 'robbed' money, they run their errands, clearing costs, and looking after their families. Meanwhile, Jane, out on bail, remarkably discovers her hubby back home declaring he desires a second possibility. The movie ends on a cheerfully ridiculous note, with the 3 buddies enjoying their ill-gotten gains, while the largely oblivious town stays none the better about who truly took the money.

Critical Reception
Though it didn't receive extremely positive reviews from critics, "How to Beat the High Cost of Living" resonates with audiences, especially during recessionary periods, due to its relatable theme of financial struggles and the lengths to which ordinary people might go to overcome them. The movie skillfully intertwines a humorous script with an engaging story and strong likable characters, rendering it a light-hearted take on major economic concerns.

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