Obviously, I don’t really have to tell you why the 1980s movie Mannequin is so wrong and why it could never be made in more modern times!
There were so many amazing movies made throughout the 80s and 1987 was quite a stellar year for classic movies such as Robocop, Predator, Planes,Trains and Automobiles, Fatal Attraction, The Lost Boys, The Untouchables etc.
What’s it all about?
The film is actually a modern re-telling of the Pygmalion myth, which tells the story about a chronically underemployed artist named Jonathan Switcher (played by Brat Pack member Andrew McCarthy) who gets a job as a department store window dresser and falls in love with a mannequin (played by Kim Cattrall) the attraction being that she comes to life on occasion, but only for him.
At the start of the story we follow Egyptian Ema “Emmy” Heshire dressed as a mummy (Yes, really!) who hides in a pyramid from her mother, who is trying to get her married off by way of arranged marriage. Emmy while hiding in her pyramid asks the gods to save her and help her find true love. This is all done with the aid of crappy animation….
Who the f**k knows why she lives for a couple of thousand years (dates Christopher Columbus while on the way) only to reappear in 1987 as a store mannequin and falls for drippy Jonathan!
Meanwhile Johnathan works as a mannequin designer and produces the perfect mannequin, which he gets a little to familiar with. It’s taken him weeks to perfect and this ultimately gets him fired from his dummy making gig because he takes too long making the damn things! We then follow him being totally inept at every other job he attempts such as making balloon animals, a landscaper and working in a pizza parlour where he is fired from all of them. The only job he seems to be any good at is department store sign rodeo! (see below)
Johnathan’s girlfriend Roxie has also had enough of him and she dumps too. While down on his luck and in the pouring rain he just happens to spot the perfect dummy he created in Prince & Co department store window.
The next morning he heads back to the store and while walking down the street he clumsily manages to stop a store sign from hitting the old lady from Golden Girls (Estelle Getty). This old lady just happens to be Claire, the owner of Prince & Co and she is so grateful she gives him a job. So remember next time you go for an interview, all you have to do is save your future bosses life and you’re made for life!
Richards, the Vice President (played by James Spader) isn’t too happy with the new employee and assigns him to the stock room. Here we meet Hollywood Montrose, who is the only character I can actually tolerate in this film and is an over-camp gay stereotype. They become good friends and Johnathan helps Hollywood create a window display using the perfect mannequin. This is where we first meet the totally obnoxious store security guard Felix Maxwell (played by G.W Bailey). We’re not saying he is typecast but he does play exactly the same character in every movie he’s been in which is Lieutenant “Move it, move it, move it!” Harris from Police Academy and as usual he’s part crazy all asshole!
That night when Jonathan is alone, the mannequin he is obsessed with comes to life as Emmy. Emmy says she has existed for centuries, appearing to various great artists as a muse. She explains that she can only appear to him when they are alone and everyone else sees her as a mannequin.This has got some serious repercussions right there!
Jonathan’s window-dressing for Prince & Company manages to attract lots of attention and audiences flock to see the these amazing displays. Obviously nothing much happens in Philadelphia! At the next board meeting, Richards wants to fire Jonathan, ostensibly for “showing off” with the window displays which is no reason to fire anyone unless you’re a douchbag! The truth is, Richards is actually a corporate spy from rival department store Illustra. The board ignore Richards, and promote Jonathan to visual merchandising. Emmy and Jonathan’s relationship goes from strength to strength over the following weeks, and he takes her on a date to see the city on the back of his motorcycle where she appears as a dummy to everybody else and he looks crazy. Every night, she helps him to create popular window displays. Impressed, Claire then promotes Jonathan to a vice presidency.Yes, straight from stock room boy to Vice President of the company in just a matter of weeks.
Ilustra the rival department store is seriously pissed and the director B.J Wert gets Johnathan’s ex Roxie who also works at Illustra (when she’s not getting relentlessly sexual harassed by her rapey colleague for sex) she offers Johnathan a job, but he’s not having any of it!
It doesn’t take long for everyone to figure out that Jonathan seems to have a fixation on one of the mannequins.
There is a scene where Johnathan takes Emmy as a mannequin into the bathroom and the staff are all curious and listening through the door, but they aren’t even a little bit grossed out by his creepy sackable behaviour.
The evil team at Illustra make plan to steal Emmy and when it goes tits up, Claire becomes tired of Felix’s ineptitude and Richard’s attitude towards Jonathan and fires them. The poor security guard Felix gets knocked out by a mannequin Emmy flying on a hang glider, you bet he’ll need counseling for life!
Now working for Illustra (who obviously only hires evil ex-Prince & Co employees) Felix and Richards break into the store and search for Emmy. They are unable to tell which mannequin is her so they simply just steal every female mannequin in the store, like you do. The next day, Johnathan and Hollywood discover Emmy is missing. Jonathan suspects Illustra and confronts B.J, who is dismissive about the whole thing. Roxie storms out of the office, swearing that Jonathan will never see Emmy again. Jonathan then chases Roxie while being pursued by Felix and a dozen more inept security guards. Hollywood manages to spray the guards with a fire hose (no that’s not a euphemism!) Roxie loads Emmy along with the other mannequins into a trash compactor. Jonathan jumps onto the loading conveyor belt and grabs Emmy, who is still a mannequin. As Jonathan attempts to pull her out, Emmy miraculously comes to life and stays human in front of other people for the first time, but we don’t know why. The lonely operator of the trash compactor cannot believe his eyes and dives in grabbing and groping the other dummies to see if any will come to life for him. They don’t, but he finds Roxie who fell among the trash and gropes and kisses her and cannot believe his luck.
Felix and his fellow guards rush in, followed by Wert, who tries to have Jonathan arrested for trespassing. Claire arrives and nobody knows what the f**k is going on, Felix trying to explain and nobody believes him as he repeatedly shouts “She’s the dummy!” while having a breakdown. Felix’s words will haunt me for a long time! Claire accuses Richards and Felix of breaking and entering, grand theft and the kidnapping of Emmy, while accusing Wert of conspiracy and displaying evidence from a newly installed CCTV system in the store. Wert and his evil team are arrested and hauled away.
Johanathan a bit worried that his shenanigans might have been caught on CCTV asks Claire if she saw everything. She says she only saw what she wanted to see, which is just totally gross, meaning she did see him f**king a giant dummy while supposed to be at work! Surely he must be fired, but no!
Emmy and Jonathan are married in the shop window of Prince & Company; Claire is the bridesmaid, and Hollywood is the best man and Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now plays by Starship.