When it comes to 1980s romantic comedies, there were many, and most were quirky and fun, and Mannequin is no exception. We start in some time during the time of the Pharoahs, when Emat-rat-su (Kim Catrall) of Emmy for short is disappointed with the life choices her parents are setting her up with. They have come to a last resort in finding her a husband, and she is about to be matched to a camel dung dealer. Emmy makes a prayer to her gods to find her a way out, and she disappears right before her mother’s eyes and we are in a cartoon history of Emmy’s adventures through the ages as she looks for her destiny, in the guise of the cat goddess, Bastet.
Cut to modern day Philadelphia, where sculpture artist, Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy) has created a mannequin so lifelike, he just is in awe of his creation, not unlike Pygmalion, but considering that in this mannequin workshop, time is money, Jonathan is fired for working too diligently, and soon is going through a cycle where his art is not appreciated, and he loses quite a few jobs along the way. On the upside, he has a girlfriend, Roxy (Carole Davis) that works for a trendy department store, Illustra, but she does not quite understand Jonathan’s artistic ways. One night after Roxie and Jonathan have a fight, she is given a ride home by her lecherous co-worker, Armand (Christopher Maher), and Jonathan’s motorcycle breaks down in the rain. Along the way home, he sees his mannequin in a department store window, at a traditional, older department store, Prince and Company. He goes home, then comes back the next day to see his work in a better light, when a sign is being lifted to advertise that Prince and Company is celebrating its 100th anniversary. A little old lady is directing the workers, but one of the cables comes loose, and the sign swings down, and Jonathan pushes the old lady out of the way. It turns out that the old lady is Claire Timkin (Estelle Getty), the owner of the store. She asks if there is anything she can do for him, and soon, he has a job with Prince and Company as a stock boy. That does not last long as while hunting down his sculpture, he soon finds a flamboyant artist, Hollywood Montrose (Meshach Taylor), that is a window dresser. Not long after that, he is working with Hollywood, and this is where Emmy comes to life, but for his eyes only.
There are many hijinx ensuing as Emmy and Jonathan embark on their own spur of creativity, plus Jonathan has to deal with the slick and slimy Mr. Richards (James Spader), his security lackey, Felix (G. W. Bailey) and the backstabbing execs at Illustra, B.J. Wert (Steve Vinovich) and even Roxie! This movie is full of the pop culture from the time, and the synthy dance music that gave it the perfect atmosphere for a fun Saturday afternoon getaway. You can even check out the condensed version here, in the movie’s #1 hit theme song by Starship:
If you want some nostalgia, then check out Mannequin, and remember, there was even a sequel for twice as much fun!
I give this film a Musing review of