Sunday, November 15, 2015

Review: Mannequin by Laurie of Knit Terrors



When Chad first told me he would be receiving a screener for the blu-ray release of the 80's classic, Mannequin, I told him I would be hijacking his review. Being born in the early 80's, I remember watching Mannequin numerous times as a child. I mean, what little girl wouldn't want to be the gorgeous Kim Cattrall?

The movie kicks off in ancient Egypt, as we find Emmy (Kim Cattrall) standing in a tomb, dressed as a mummy to hide from her mother. They have an argument over Emmy's opposition to an arranged marriage and suddenly we hear thunder, the tomb shakes and Emmy is gone.

We're brought to present day Philadelphia. We meet Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy), a worker in a mannequin assembly factory. He clearly takes his job very seriously - taking six days to assemble one mannequin, while his boss tells him he should be making 3-4 in one day. He gets fired and leaves - but, wait, that mannequin resembles someone…



He picks up his girlfriend, Roxie (Carole Davis), from the department store where she works, Illustra. They split, it starts raining, his motorcycle won't work and he walks it home. He passes the Prince & Co. display window and comes face to face with the very mannequin he was fired for taking too long to assemble. Magically, his motorcycle starts working and he heads home.

The next day we meet Claire (Estelle Getty), the bigwig for Prince & Co. (Illustra's rival). She begins talking with Jonathan who is waiting for the store to open, when all of a sudden chaos breaks loose, as the sign goes haywire. He ends up holding on to the sign for dear life as it swings back and forth in the air. In that moment, Claire decides to offer him a job, for whatever it is that he does.

Claire takes Jonathan to meet Vice President of Prince & Co., Richards (James Spader), who decides to have him stock the women's underwear department. Jonathan seeks out and finds his precious mannequin, also encountering the very awesomely flamboyant guy named Hollywood (Meschach Taylor), who does the displays. 


We then get introduced to the security guard, Felix and his beloved partner in crime, a bulldog named Rambo (because he likes to draw first blood). Jonathan heads over to help Hollywood with the display, is left alone with the mannequin and suddenly, Emmy comes to life. They decide to make their first display window together, presumably all night as Jonathan wakes up in the display wondering what the hell happened, as Emmy is in her mannequin form. 

Later on, Jonathan finds Emmy, they explore the entire store in what I consider to be the most epic 80s montage I have ever seen. There's dancing, glorious music (Alisha's "Do You Dream About Me"), and multiple outfit changes. As a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be Emmy in this moment. I mean, how cool to be alone in a gigantic department store, playing dress up and dancing around? But it all comes to a halt as Hollywood enters, and Emmy changes to her mannequin self. He leaves and she comes back to life, and reminds Jonathan that he is the only person that can see her in her live form.


Shenanigans ensue with Felix and Richards (as well as Roxie and her co-worker Armand), determined to steal Jonathan's beloved mannequin. Jonathan and Emmy enjoy a night out on the town, as she snuggles up to him on his motorcycle. He wakes up naked in the middle of the store the next morning surrounded by a crowd of customers. Hollywood informs him that all of the mannequins have been stolen.

He heads to Illustra, where he encounters BJ, Richards and Roxie. Roxie storms off to the back room where the mannequins, and a giant woodchipper are. The mannequins start to get destroyed as Hollywood and Jonathan fight past security. He sees Emmy on the conveyer belt, close to her doom as he pulls her up and saves her. Emmy comes to life, while a worker looks on. Whats this? Emmy alive when someone else is around? This must be true love! 

We leave Jonathan and Emmy with a wedding in, what else but the store display window. Hollywood officiates as Jefferson Starship's classic "Nothing's Gonna Stop us Now" plays.


I firmly stand by my lifelong love for this movie and truly believe it could not have existed in any other decade. Everything works so well in Mannequin - there's a ton of physical comedy, and the music, style and the imagery is 80s perfection. It may not come with any extras (other than a trailer), but I love that it is getting new life as a blu-ray release. 

To order, please head over to Olive Films!

-Laurie

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