What happens when college is over and you are in the real world, facing debt and joblessness, growing up, having to take responsibility for your life? In the current era, this is a question dealt with in Girls and the answer is: inappropriate sex and relationships, poor life choices and drugs and alcohol. What about the mid-eighties? Actually, it’s pretty much the same. But with bigger hair, and the ability to be a star playing saxophone in a college bar (and jeepers, playing the saxophone makes you sexy to all the chicks and really, really sweaty).
It was a classic tale with many members of the “brat pack” of the eighties: Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy. Friends from college being forced to face their demons. And there is not a single character that I did not want to slap. For me, this doesn’t hold up at all… but I think that if I had loved it in the way I loved Young Guns and The Lost Boys, I would probably be ranting and raving about it here. I can see what people would love, I just can’t love it myself.
It’s the middle of a very hot summer, and Larry (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard (Jonathan Silverman) are up-and-comers, working hard for some kind of businessman in some manner. (I got a bit lost on the details at the start. No, wait, insurance. It was insurance) After discovering problems with some of the paperwork, they meet with their boss Bernie Lomax (Terry Kisser), who invites them to discuss it at his elaborate beach house that weekend. Little do they know that they are being set up – Bernie has arranged for them to be killed. Little does Bernie know, however, that his partners in crime have had enough of him and they kill him first. So, when Larry and Richard turn up, they discover (after a short while of thinking that he is just drunk) a dead Bernie. They soon discover the plot, and need to keep everyone thinking that Bernie is alive until they can escape the island. Luckily, everyone on the island is so used to Bernie being trashed that they don’t notice he is dead.
This is a great film. So much better that I recalled. Yes, it is cheesy as all get out and totally ridiculous, but you can’t take the premise of a dead guy being treated as if they are alive as a serious drama. It’s a good comedy, go check it out. The thing lacking from an eighties comedy? James Spader. If only.
Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy) is a bit of a loser. A sculptor, he’s not found a way to make a living, and keeps getting fired from all manner of jobs, to the chagrin of his professional woman girlfriend, Roxie (Carole Davis). Then he saves the life of a CEO, Claire Timkin (Estelle Getty) and ends up working in a department store. But when he comes across a mannequin that he created in his previous job, his life takes a magical turn.
I reckon it still totally holds up. McCarthy is fun, Kim Cattrall is fun and then there is James Spader. Anytime, I will watch James Spader doing almost anything anytime. I also wonder if the character of Hollywood (played by Meshach Taylor) is the first light-hearted representation of a gay man in a Hollywood film which is generally respectful, and the only negative aspects reflect poorly on the bigots. Or perhaps there have been many more. Who knows.
Mannequin was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song for “Nothing’s Going to Stop Us Now”.