Mannequin (1987)

It is often said love can stand any obstacle, including time. Your mileage may vary. But it is a comforting philosophy to believe in, while it makes a lot of money in the entertainment and art industries, and in many cases, it does happen. In 1987, in an attempt to craft a film that would be a surefire hit for approximately 50% of the population. M.G.M. crafted a perfect love story, about a hopeless romantic and a mannequin.

The animated intro does a lot to signpost the charm!

Ema Hersie wants a life better than is expected for a woman in Ancient Egyptian society, so much so to the ire of the gods, who curse her in a puff of smoke. Meanwhile, Switcher is a wannabe sculptor, working in a department where he makes Mannequins. Quality is the operative word, costing him many jobs, including this one, after sculpting one special Mannequin of his dreams. After saving the owner’s life, she gives a second chance at her department store, much to the ire of her upper management. Here, he meets the girl of his dream, the same mannequin, now imbued with the spirit of Ema. Although, corporate conspiracies and an over-zealous guard may stand in the way of romance.

Hopeless romantic Switcher is a change of pace from the protagonist of Less Than Zero.

While tailor-made to target a specific demographic, this film offers a light-hearted ride that practically anybody can enjoy. It could be due to the characters, brought to life (no pun intended) by the cast. Kim Catrall feels like a smart choice for the role of Ema and Andrew McCarthy is well versed at being the heartthrob protagonist, and is far removed from the hedonistic ruin of Less Than Zero. Yes, it is true, Mannequin is inherently a silly concept, but the execution embraces this to produce a refreshing film in this light and delightful comedy romance. With the results managing to produce a film that feels emblematic of the 80s spirit that many are trying to emulate to this day. 

Props to the Props Department… that mannequin does look like Kim Catrall!

Mannequin shows off its allure at the earliest opportunity, in the cute animated intro sequence. Being made during the Late 80s, Mannequin does have an ace up its sleeve, with the vibrant and inventive fashions that the decade is known for, and the astute eye of Hollywood Montrose, Switcher’s fashion-conscious friend. Of course, you might know about the endearing rock anthem, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, finding fame with its inclusion in the film. However, the other songs that make up the soundtrack are just as charming, although they did not catch as much of a big break.

Kim Catrall and Andrew McCarthy do make a good couple… despite the culture shock!

If you can accept the film’s tone and an approachable tale of love enduring, there’s a lot of fun to be had with this quirky premise, and colourful characters. Mannequin doesn’t need that much defending, with the film being a box-office success and launching the Starship song and its sequel. Much like the titular Mannequin, looking beyond its simplistic appearances, and fast fashions reveals something worthy enough to preserve in the zeitgeist. Even for its commercial intentions, it is still a joy to appreciate something that is expertly crafted.

Hollywood Montrose, Switcher’s fashion-conscious friend!

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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