When no-one will employ talented but difficult actor Michael Dorsey (Hoffman), he dresses in drag and auditions for women's roles instead. He's extremely successful, too, but while pretending to be a woman, he finds himself falling for a female co-star.
What's less convincing is that he could get any decent roles as a woman - as there aren't very many decent roles for women. True enough, his success comes in television rather than movies, but it's still all a flimsy premise that you'd do best to ignore.
What you can't avoid but also really can't quite put your finger on is a sense of fun to the whole piece. It's jaunty, witty, and somehow satisfying despite being simple.
Perhaps its strength comes from how it isn't just a star vehicle for Hoffman, but more of a true ensemble comedy with Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, and particularly Dabney Coleman doing very well. Even director Sydney Pollack, in a brief appearance as Dorsey's agent, is funny and makes the role more than just a cameo.
The title, by the way, was reportedly Dustin Hoffman's suggestion: it was his mother's nickname for him as a child.
Read about another great cross-dressing comedy: "Some Like It Hot".