A bawdy though sympathetic look at the lives of two Amsterdam prostitutes, 1971's Business Is Business was the film debut of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, who would later graduate to the Hollywood mainstream with films like Total Recall and Basic Instinct. Ronnie Biermann stars as Greet, a worldly wise prostitute who, in between gratifying the often bizarre needs and fantasies of her bourgeois clients, is decently protective of her neighbor and friend in the trade, the busty, younger Nell (Sylvia de Leur) of whose relationship with an abusive leech (Bernard Droog) she disapproves. Finally, she decides they must both break out of their decreasingly fulfilling lives and seek out matrimonial stability.
Business Is Business, based on the writings of Albert Moll, is an amiable if slightly aimless movie that probably seemed like an authentic depiction of the Amsterdam demi-monde in its day, but today its kinky peccadilloes look rather quaint. The breezily kitsch soundtrack is redolent of a more innocent age overall. However, both Biermann and Sylvia De Leur forcefully resist any of the clichés of the era in their strong characters. --David Stubbs
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