Friday, February 3, 2023

I Guess I Watched That Watch: Mannequin (1987)

Photoshop is hard, y'all

Watched:  02/02/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Michael Gottleib

Well.  I somehow watched Mannequin (1987) Thursday evening.  

As the day drew to a close and we were figuring out life after our ice storm here, I sat down to do some things and was like "ha ha!  Mannequin is on HBOmax!" and the next thing I knew, I was watching department store art director and bon vivant, Hollywood, knock over bumbling security guards with a firehose (that's the end of the movie, gang).


1)  this movie recognizes the reality and divinity of the Egyptian pantheon, and I was wondering how that would play a role for the characters, but it's just not a factor except when their fulfilling wishes.  What does it mean to realize that Osiris is out there granting boons?

2)  Kim Cattrall was clearly enthusiastically game for whatever was movie work for a good stretch there, making her way up the cinematic ladder, rung by rung.  This is 6 years after Porky's and is a lead role, no matter what the poster would suggest (by replacing her with an actual mannequin, which... ok, but put your leads on the poster).  She was doing serious stage work between light comedies.  It's wild.

3)  This is a movie that believes you can't be too big or do too much in front of the camera.  Do we have these anymore?  It's a collection of cartoon characters.  Which makes our leads' relative restraint seem grounded.  Which is wild because Cattrall is an Egyptian time-travelling statue, and McCarthy acts like a charming lunatic.  But Spader is absolutely going bananas in this film, and I don't blame him, and that's our bar.

4) It's interesting to see how a movie made in a pre-sexual harassment era deals with justice for sexual harassment.  It's not shut down.  Our guy who has been asking "Roxy" for sex all movie finally gets her in a moment of weakness and can't perform. Big laughs.  The scene is actually kind of funny, but it's difficult to not get distracted by every preceding scene of the guy in the office openly coming on to someone just trying to work.  Attitudes have changed, y'all.

I dunno.  This is pretty typical of 1980's mid-budget comedy stuff.  They really leaned into The Wacky.  There's just not much like it anymore except for children, so the mix of romcom and cartoonish hijinks is just waiting to happen again in cinema, but has survived on TV like no one's business.  

The biggest risks are really everything done by Spader as one of the oily villains - not his usual smooth-talking cool-as-hell villains.  He's fun!  But I also suspect everyone enjoyed working with GW Bailey, who plays the main bumbling security guard, and who makes it all seem effortless.

And, of course, as this is a Cattrall fan-site, we can only endorse literally everything she does in this movie.  I don't know what her character was supposed to be on paper, but she takes a sort of "you're the girl" role and makes it pleasantly daffy.  We also support her pink aviatrix outfit.  And giant hat.


Nathaniel Capp said...

This was partially shot in the Boscov’s of my home town!

The League said...

It's a genuinely beautiful building! They don't make them like that at all anymore. Amazed they had the access they had.