Recently the peeps over at Pajiba did a list of the five 80s movies that haven’t held up well, and number four on the list was Mannequin. Now, you see, I was somewhat annoyed, seeing as Mannequin is awesome! Right? I may not have seen it in over ten years but no way was it a poor movie. It’s about a man who falls in love with a reincarnated Egyptian princess! How can that not be the best thing ever? Luckily I could see for myself, as it was on TV last night. So I settled back for some 80s awesomeness and to relive my childhood through the wonder of film.
Huh. I don’t want to say it’s terrible…but it’s not good, is it? It’s also kinda boring, which was unexpected. I kept wandering off to do something else and then remembered I was supposed to be watching it. Maybe it’s me, maybe I wasn’t in the right mood. Or maybe some things can’t live up to your memories of them.
We begin in Egypt ‘A really long time ago’ where Emmy (Kim Cattrall) is hiding out in a tomb all wrapped up in bandages so her mother won’t find her and force her to marry some boring dude who expects her to be just a wife. Men eh? You mean they weren’t forward thinking back in the day? But Emmy is adventurous and wants to do more than get married. (Yet, inexplicably later the only way for her to be human full time is for her to fall in love. Is this because her adventures were done?) Something happens…I don’t know what, I’d already stopped listening, and she is off on a cartoon montage through the ages. We then hit ‘Philadelphia. Today.’ Or 1987.
Jonathan (Andrew McCarthy) is talking to mannequins. The kind that don’t turn into real people when only he is looking. Someone lock him up. He’s a loser who can’t keep a job…sorry, he’s a misunderstood artist. He wanders the streets in the rain and talks again to the mannequin he made when he sees her in a store window. She was the only thing that made him feel like an artist. The next day he saves Estelle Getty from being hit by a loose store sign and she gives him a job at her failing department store. Then James Spader turns up being his usual smarmy self. Or his usual smarmy self with slicked back hair and bad glasses, so he’s a geek here or something. And we meet Hollywood, a flamboyant gay man in charge of…accessories? What is Hollywood’s job? Oh and there’s a pesky security guard with a dog named Rambo. Rambo is afraid of mannequins, so he’s probably not the best dog to have in a shop.
So, Andrew McCarthy is wandering around not being of much use, and then ta da! His mannequin comes to life and scares the shit out of him. He’s obviously having some sort of mental breakdown. But at least in this state he puts together an ‘amazing’ window display…with tennis racquets. People go crazy for it and the store starts doing well. They must lead sheltered lives. This annoys the store’s competitor, who is in cahoots with Spader and, I think, McCarthy’s ex girlfriend, but to be honest I wasn’t paying much attention.
Emmy tells him she dated Chris Columbus (not the director) and tried out various other times and places. I’m confused. In these other times and places was she also a mannequin, (or a wooden doll I suppose, since they probably didn’t have plastic) or have some other limits attached to her life, or is this a new development from the gods, just to really screw with her? Why?
Oh never mind, they’re having a ball in the store dressing up in costumes. 80s film montage!
Wow, this is really long.
The next ‘amazing’ window has mannequins cycling. With a backdrop, that moves! Crowds gather again. How do they cope with 3D movies? These are the people that lost their shit over Avatar, aren’t they? Well watch out people, the next window is them on a beach! More thrills! Don’t they have jobs? Was there nothing good on TV? And then Emmy goes hang gliding in the store. How is this possible?
Estelle Getty makes McCarthy Vice President of the store. Huh?
At this point I had just about lost the will to live. Emmy is stolen by the competitor. Because…I dunno. Hijinks ensue. There’s lots of chasing about and Hollywood soaks everyone with a fire extinguisher. But there’s a happy ending as McCarthy saves Emmy from being sawed to pieces, and this shows he loves her and so now everyone can see her as she’s a real live girl! They get married in the store window. Of course they do.
I think it’s safe to say Pajiba was right about this one. It’s better to leave some films only in your memories, that way you can be all outraged when someone says it’s shit, instead of having to agree with them. However, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now is a classic song, and I love it. You can’t take that away from me!!