“…. The best of the supporting players, though, is Jessica Lange, who brings something dangerous and spacy to the character of Julie; she reminds one a little of Tuesday Weld. It's not a well-written role: at times Julie is glib in a gratingly literary way, and at others she just sounds vacant. But Lange shows us the turmoil behind the shifting eyes: she must have recognized that Julie was in danger of coming off as a dummy, and so she's chosen to make her inarticulate instead, churning with inexpressible desires; she suggests hidden depths, distant edges and textures. Lange is slender, with a swanlike carriage and a regal neck, but there's something of the towheaded scamp in her face, a mischievousness that can seem chummy one moment and predatory the next. We know exactly what Michael sees in this woman, and we also know how easily she could destroy him.
“It would make a certain sense if the movie ended with that destruction, but that would be a tragedy, not a comedy. And Tootsie ends instead on a note of wistful fantasy that's mawkishly reminiscent of The Graduate…. It's a sweetly naive suggestion, a reversion to the pipe dream that in order to win a woman, all you have to do is be Sensitive. If only it were so simple….[consider filling in ellipses, as well as removing] Tootsie is sadder but more sensible in an earlier scene, at a swank East Side party. There Michael glimpses Julie from across the room, and, knowing she won't recognize him, approaches her on a starlit balcony. Gazing at her against the shimmering skyline, he can't control himself, and he blurts out the come-on that Julie once told Dorothy she always wanted to hear from a man--something about how he won't bother with role playing and fancy lines, how he wants to be frank: you attract me, why not make love? Whereupon Julie throws a drink in Michael's face. Lange gives the moment a terrible aura of sadism and power; watching Michael sputter and gasp, she's not the sweet little bunny who confides in Dorothy. She taunts Michael with her eyes, letting her hips sway slightly, a snake charmer seducing a cobra. She's woman as sexual warrior, battling man as snuffling sexual beast: they are natural enemies. And here, in this darkly funny, almost malignant scene, Tootsie's subversive truth floats to the surface….”
Boston Phoenix, Dec. 21, 1982