Mannequin (1987)

Mannequin_movie_posterIf you were looking for a film that encapsulated everything wrong with 1980’s pop culture, then you needn’t look further. In fact, you only need to look at the poster for the film in order to get some idea of the vanity that it represents, but if you actually watch the film, you’ll find that the look is only a small part of the plastic nightmare.

Only a minute into the film do things start going hideously wrong. Apparently the premise involves a woman from Ancient Egypt who prays to the gods to escape an unwanted marriage, but this prologue is riddled with anachronisms. The writer clearly didn’t do any research, because not only does the film assume that women in ancient Egypt acted the same way they did in 1987, but also that they spoke in English with American accents. Of course, this is because rom-com writers never do any research, and have a collective assumption that the viewers are morons, but the prologue is the least of our problems.

After the insultingly stupid prologue, the film treats as to an animated title sequence. It’s the same strategy used in the film Grease, and it’s just as inefficacious in this film, if not more so because the animation style shown here looks cheap and outdated, and doesn’t seem to have any relation with the actual plot of the film. The story itself is a marathon of rom-com clichés, but somehow the film comes across as even creepier version of Splash. The story also makes no logical sense whatsoever, and only seems to raise an uncomfortable number of questions, mainly the question of “why on Earth would anyone be sexually attracted to a mannequin?”. That’s the central question, and that the writer seems to have no interest in answering that. What follows are the ninety of the most unbearably stupid and unspeakably lousy minutes of movie history, featuring all manner of stock characters, and all the ugliest examples of popular 80’s fashion. For a movie made on a moderate budget, the film looks as though the producers used every cheap production trick in the book, even going so low as to use cheap transition wipes throughout the film.

The actors themselves weren’t all bad, but the dialogue is extremely clumsy, and the script is a bigger joke than the many failed jokes you’re bound to find in the film. I’d say that the music was the only tolerable part of the movie, but then again, the kind of music you hear in Mannequin was absurdly common in the 1980’s, and I’m beginning to suspect that it was commonly employed in movies of lesser quality, some of which practically survive in the consciousness of public culture only because of the music.

Sadly, Mannequin is one of those films, but that’s the more merciful way of looking at it. This film must have been garbage when it was new, but it’s far worse than simply that. It’s a soulless product of the brand of committee thinking that dominated the 1980’s. It’s not just horribly written, it’s shoddily produced, and so inanely stupid that it might cause your brain to melt in boredom. Certainly the worst film to come out of the “golden 80’s”, but I say it’s one of the worst movies ever made. If you don’t believe me, you can always watch it yourself. Go ahead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • Score: 6%
  • Grade: F

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