For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Alternate Love Story Movies, here’s a review of Mannequin (1987) by S.G. Liput of Rhyme and Reason
Thanks again to Abbi of Abbiosbiston.com for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Tim of FilmFunkel We will be reviewing our favorite Found Footage movies. In order to get a better idea as to what this genre might include, check out this post by Tim.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of December by sending them to TisTheFFSeason@movierob.net Try to think out of the box! Great choice Tim!
Let’s see what S.G. thought of this movie:
Look in the window and what do you see?
A mannequin posing and staring at thee,
Standing there motionless, waiting for night,
Waiting for you to get out of her sight.
Then when you’re gone, who’s to say what occurs,
What fun she might have, what companions are hers?
The store is now empty, the window is closed.
She can be herself without being exposed.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for much innuendo)
Mannequins seem to be versatile. The Twilight Zone episode “The After Hours” employed them for mystery and suspense, while Lars and the Real Girl used a life-size doll to depict the main character’s need to grow and personal fulfillment. And then, there’s 1987’s Mannequin, which is just a silly comedy. It’s silly, yes, but likably so, and though critics have dismissed it as lowbrow rubbish, it’s gained a cult following of its own.
When Ema Hesire, or Emmy (Kim Cattrall), begs the gods of ancient Egypt to grant her a better future, her wish is granted, and her historical misadventures are animated during the opening credits. It’s not until that great decade of time travel, the 1980s, that she finds her true love in overly meticulous sculptor Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy). After creating his perfect mannequin, a series of vocational mishaps lands him at the failing department store Prince & Company, where he becomes the favorite of both its elderly owner (Estelle Getty) and its newest mannequin. Emmy comes to life only when she and Switcher are alone, and to the befuddlement of his ex-girlfriend, his coworkers, and various rivals, Switcher falls in love with an apparent dummy.
I can see why detractors have torn into Mannequin. The comedy is far from laugh-out-loud, but it’s consistently amusing, even when it devolves into silly ‘80s slapstick. The film is also full of clichés and stereotypes, from haughty executive Richards (James Spader) to sex-crazed Latin lover Armand (Christopher Maher), and of course ridiculously flamboyant window dresser Hollywood Montrose (Meshach Taylor). Hollywood in particular is such a garish stereotype of homosexuals that his behavior makes you want to turn to the person next to you with that you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me kind of glance. (Or am I the only one who does that?) Still, these roles are examples of versatile acting, since Spader has gone on to much more dramatic roles (The Blacklist, Ultron) and Taylor’s normal role on Designing Women was a huge contrast.
Luckily, the main focus is on Cattrall and McCarthy, and their late-night romping through the empty department store is just plain cute and fun. For me, though, the best role and lines go to G.W. Bailey of M*A*S*H fame, who plays security guard Felix Maxwell with just the right amount of frank stupidity, accompanied by his bulldog Rambo.
All in all, Mannequin doesn’t try to be anything deep, though it still earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for Starship’s theme “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” It’s a film where Egyptians look like Kim Cattrall (at her prettiest, I might add), and a mere display window can save a failing store and leave people gawking on the sidewalk. It’s inane but charming, and for whatever reason, I can’t help but like it.
Best line: (Felix, with a quotable line) “Switcher, you are one sick puppy!”
Rank: List Runner-Up
© 2015 S. G. Liput
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