With only two more Friday’s left in November my four weeks of sheer and utter movie embarrassment is almost at an end so let’s finish off this second to last selection in the guilty pleasure series quick – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Today we’re going into deep, deep character clichés, cornball comedy and stereotypical scenarios for some pure gamey movie cheddar that most would consider sub-par cinema. But for yours truly all of the above B-movie badness is music to the ears with a tale of a man whose dream of finding the right woman comes true – even if she is made of wood, polystyrene and fiberglass. Where can I get a…Mannequin!
Jonathan Switcher is a dreamer. A would-be-artist and man of passion, Jonathan gets by working odd jobs here and there. But one day he saves department store owner Claire Timkin from a falling sign he ends up getting a new job that changes his life. Seems there’s a mannequin in the store he’s working in that’s got the spirit of an ancient Egypt gal named Emmy who comes life late a night and only for Jonathan alone. So much to the chagrin of his jealous fellow co-workers Jonathan goes from stock boy to window dresser all with help from Emmy and the two must hide their work and relationship from prying eyes – and have some fun in the process.
Even the above description sounds gamey, but within the confines of obvious caricatures and laughable dialogue the plain truth is I simply adore Mannequin. I enjoy the schmaltzy scenarios of romance between a man and his mannequin. I savor watching chemistry heavy Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall going through the 80’s costume montages and ending their night naked under store fake fur. And I even dig the goofy, almost slapstick musical score that heightens the comical elements.
But most of all, I dig ALL the colorful and way over-the-top sitcom style characters that make up this wacky world around the two love birds. James Spader as the slimy store manager, Police Academy alum G.W. Bailey as the inane store security guard, Carole Davis as McCarthy’s fanatical former flame, Christopher Maher as her sex starved sidekick Armand and especially Designing Women’s Meshach Taylor as the over-emotional and super flamboyant fellow window designer Hollywood Montrose. All go so far it can almost be mistaken for vaudeville, but for the out there premise of the story by god it somehow works – and works well.
The final scene sees a happy ending for the loving and romantic couple (this ain’t R-rated folks!) all set to the fabulous Oscar nominated tune Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship (also part of a memorable scene years later in the five-star flick The Skeleton Twins with Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader!) and its fitting. With all the sensible movie strikes fully against Mannequin it was a film that could not be stopped and audiences at the time made it a hit even though critics panned it. It just shows that sometimes we movie savvy fellows have to throw out all we know, all we think is beneath us, all we claim to dislike and embrace the thin within – Mannequin is my fluff flick of choice.