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Feel good fun in a dream like movie
on 31 December 2007
I'll start bluntly by saying that I'm a man. That's to no surprise, as you've guessed from my username, but I just thought i'd point this out as the lads I know have laughed at me for buying this on DVD, believing it to be more of a chic flic. All I can say is, Screw them! I've loved this film since I was a kid!
The 80's was a... hmm, 'diverse' time for films. You look at such momentous movies, and then their is the selection towards the end of the decade that could be cheesy enough to make a mouse fat. However, I want to make it clear that I love cheesy films, despite certain peoples arrogance towards them because they take them too seriously (their own fault). But of course, their is no escaping the fact that Mannequin falls into the category of borderline criminal when it comes to amateur acting. From the many times i've watched it however over the past decade or so, I can recall this being the only 'cringing' part of the film. But hey, that's what makes a good cheesy film! Why didn't they just create a separate genre for films like these?
The plot has always for me had a real awe about it - something you can go to bed at night dreaming about, because it's so special. Unfortunately, in low budget style, it's a rushed animation during the credits that reveals how Emmy became a 'Mannequin', but rest assured it has never made an impact on how I've watched this film! To be honest, it would have still been nice even if Emmy the Mannequin had just suddenly come to life. But the writers decided that her origins lay back in Egypt; 2000 and something years B.C. With the haziness of these peoples history, the story tells us that Emmy has the power to go back and forth through and time, and that eventually, she ended up in 1987 in the form of a Mannequin, where the film starts.
But rather than being thrown into the deep end, we get to grips with the cast of characters. Andrew McCarthy plays a very luckless, and indeed jobless Johnathon Switcher, who's having trouble 'keeping' a job rather than getting them. As he suggests later on in a job interview, "I've had all the work experience possible".. I might try that one time! While McCarthy does a descent effort playing the young man who wants a creative and aspiring job, he has one of those faces that makes you keep thinking he reminds of you someone. Never mind, it must be a personal thing!
His seemingly 'lasting' job finally arrives when he saves the life of the store owner of one of the towns leading department stores, and the humble 'oldish' woman gives him a place in the store dishing out goods on the rails.
So where does the Mannequin come into it, you're probably wondering. Well with some 'dummy making' experience under his belt, Johnathon simply can;t help but want to fiddle around in the front window, playing with the dummies. Enter the incredibly beautiful Kim Catrall (I think she is anyway!) as one of the mannequins springs to life...
From here on, you could say it's much of a ride, so I won't spoil the fun. The reason I love Mannequin though is simply because of its dream-like story. The film doesn't step foot on the boundaries of violence or similar themes, but keeps a hold of that sense of danger. With Emmy only coming to life when no-ones looking at her except Johnathon, it brings a romantic and lustful feel to it in times of panic, and when they're alone. And with most of their activities being held inside the store at night, with the whole place a playground for them, its the stuff dreams are made of.
What's more, it has something no modern film can... that synthy 80's soundtrack! As a DJ myself, I would do "anything" to live in the 80's as an older teen/adult, and be in clubs back when they were safer, dancing and playing such great music. For the film, it brings a good feeling and of course, adds a bit of nostalgia. Long live the 80's!
I don't care if my dad the sad old git hates cheesy films like this, I absolutely love them! Mannequin is to me, the ultimate feel good film, and it'll send you to bed with happy thoughts in your own world :o)