A Shock to the System

A Shock to the System is a 1990 American black comedy film directed by Jan Egleson and starring Michael Caine, Swoosie Kurtz, Elizabeth McGovern, and Peter Riegert. It is based on the 1984 novel A Shock to the System by British author Simon Brett.


Graham Marshall, a long-time executive in a large advertising company, is unexpectedly passed over for promotion in favor of his obnoxious younger rival Bob Benham. While he sympathizes with his friend George Brewster, whose dismissal in the midst of a corporate takeover created the open position, Marshall is angry and disappointed. His greedy, self-absorbed wife Leslie is devastated and continually reproaches her husband for his apparent lack of ambition and willpower.