Prepare yourselves for a journey back to glorious 198—nope, nope, wait, hang on, let’s go back to Egypt first, I mean ancient, ancient Egypt because the movie starts there with this chick named Emmy hiding from her mother in this tomb, because she just skipped out on her wedding with this guy she has no feelings for. See, she wants to go places, see things, fly, but Egyptian society wasn’t all that progressive, the Gods were, though, and she vanishes. Okay, now, (drum roll please) prepare yourselves for a journey back to glorious 1987 when the music had that “pop,” fashion was, uh, you know, 80s, and things were just generally better. And why was 1987 better? Because it was the year I finally got free of high school, I was 18, and, well, just because it was 1987! Put all three of those things together and you’ve got the perfect ingredients for a mind-blowing nostalgic review of a late 80s movie I didn’t see at a theater but caught later on cable.
Yes, people, it was 1987, when actors like Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, and James Spader were all young, in their acting prime and becoming box office draws, and coincidentally actors that all had roles in a little romantic fantasy comedy called, Mannequin. And that guy from the Police Academy flicks, G.W. Bailey, yeah, he’s in this one, too, playing a similar bumbling “officer of the law,” just here he’s been downgraded to department store flat foot.
But forget him right now, though, because this is about Jonathon Switcher (McCarthy) who considers himself an artist, but can’t keep a steady job because his artistry keeps getting in the way. He’s also got a girlfriend, in name only, really, they’re total opposites, and it’s clear from their first scenes they are not compatible in any way, shape or form.
Before Switcher had employment problems he was putting together mannequins for department stores, and being an artist and all he took his sweet ass time putting together this one specific one, which got his ass fired, because he wasn’t cranking out enough of them per hour.
He and this mannequin coincidentally end up getting gainfully employed at going bankrupt department store Prince & Company in downtown Philly. Their competition, Illustra, has a mole in the store and it goes by the name of Vice President Richards (James Spader), and to make the situation even more “complicated (aka interesting),” Switcher’s chick, Roxie (Carole Davis), works at Illustra too.
But you know what? Let’s forget all that right now, because Mannequin is about a dude and his mannequin. Ah-ha, but not just any mannequin, this one turns into a real life smoking hot chick, which is very compatible with Switcher, when no one but he is in her presence. She also helps him in moving up the department store food chain when the window display he was working on one night with fellow employee, Hollywood Montrose (Meshach Taylor), gets him noticed by Claire Timkin (Estelle Getty), the owner of the store. The artistry of the display is unlike anything, but that was all Emmy, not Switcher. So what, who’s going to know? Switcher is promoted and his job is now working nights on the display. This is better than perfect, because it leaves all night for them to fall in love and to fulfill Switcher’s artistic bent in the process, when he too starts getting inspired.
The nature of Emmy’s “condition” is somewhat vague. Is she cursed to be a mannequin when no one but Switcher is looking? Maybe, maybe not, for she tells Switcher about her escapades through out time, but was that all as a mannequin? No idea. And how did she become this mannequin circa 1987? Still no clue, but you know what? Who cares? Parts of this “origin tale” is indeed, wonky, mysterious and vague, but what’s left on the table is enough for you to suspend you disbelief and firmly believe a mannequin can become a hot chick that looks like Kim Cattrall.
The chase scenes get too drawn out in the final act but this is a good comedy fantasy with a slight Twilight Zone-ish vibe (I’m thinking of that episode where the mannequin comes alive and forgets she was a mannequin) that left a pleasant taste in my mouth afterwards, then and more so now because of the lavish sprinklings of 80s nostalgia it now wears all over it’s hot sexy mannequin body.
MGM first released this gem back on 2001, and then again in 2008 as a double feature with it’s sequel. Now Olive Films has it and is re-releasing it again on DVD and also giving it its first ever blu-ray release on November 3rd.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio—No subtitles.
I never bought the previous DVDs so I cann’t tell if that aspect ratio is correct or if it’s 1.78:1, like Breeders (1986) turned out to be, which would give you a bit more picture on the top and bottom. Regardless this is another great looking blu from Olive Films. I think that’s four for four for them now.
The only extra is the movie’s theatrical trailer, which has not been remastered.
Mannequin got sequelized in 1991. That movie was called, Mannequin Two: On The Movie. I don’t remember a whole lot about it other than William Ragsdale and Kristy Swanson were in it and I’m guessing I probably didn’t like it. I only say that because Olive Films is also releasing that one on DVD and blu-ray too, but when I heard they were I didn’t have any urge to review it.