For Love or Money is a 1993 film starring Michael J. Fox and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. The film centers around concierge Doug Ireland, who has a whole career based on getting things for other people. Doug does it all with a smile though, and heart, determined to see the best in every situation. For him, the hotel that he works in is not simply a place of business. It is a family, something he strives to make both his fellow employees and guests feel.
But Doug has big dreams of his own, involving opening a hotel on Roosevelt Island that involves getting $3 million dollars to start the hotel. For this, Doug needs Christian Hanover, an investor with money to burn.
Doug agrees to help keep Hanovers mistress busy. There’s just one problem—-she’s the sweet Perfume Girl at one of the many department stores the hotel is a patron of. Andy Hart has the traditional New York story. Shop Girl looking to be a Broadway actress.
Under the belief that Christian is going to divorce his wife, Andy agrees to let Doug chaperone her. The two grow close, but then trouble arises: in the form of an IRS agent looking into Doug’s taxes. Doug must pretend to have no association with Christian while at the same time taking care of Andy.
Eventually, Doug realizes that getting his dream at the expense of Andy’s happiness isn’t something he wants. While Andy realizes that Christian has been lying to Doug the whole time, and intends on getting the hotel for himself, and that Christian was the one who sent the IRS after him to get what he wants. The two get married, and Doug does eventually get his dream in possibly the sweetest and best plot twist of the whole movie.
Through out the film, Doug’s shown to go above and beyond in his job making his guests feel like family. Namely, a one Mr. Harry Wegman who Doug helps reconnect with his wife by helping them have a romantic trip in NYC getting them tickets to shows, helping him pick out gifts, etc.
A forgetful, older bellhop named Wilson delivers Doug’s hotel plans to Harry by “mistake” and Harry, who turns out also to be an investor, agrees to work on this “small project” with Doug. The film itself isn’t anything remarkable. It’s got that cliche, 90’s movie optimism that came with romantic movies of the time. But for one dated reference that made me roll my eyes (you’ll know it when you hear it), the film is a nice reminder that everyone is important, no matter how small or how big their job is. Or what’s in their bank account.
It’s also available on Netflix.