Mannequin Preview

Jamie and Patrick sit nervously in their limousine. Fortunately the hours worth of makeup covering Michael Myers’ chest shielded him from the brunt of the sniper’s bullet. The rest of production went off without a hitch, but even so Banks insisted they have a bodyguard for the premier. “It’s the next logical place they’ll try to take you out,” the suave bodyguard says. They watch the final cut of Rich & Poe: Legends Never Die: The Director’s Cut with mixed emotions and pat each other on the back when the crowd rises in thunderous applause. While a disaster would have stopped the cyborgs they can’t help but cherish the return of Rich and Poe. They smile as it’s announced that the Academy has met early and awarded them Best Picture. On stage, they lean into the microphone but stop, puzzled. Something is off…. Suddenly they see their bodyguard amidst the crowd. “He’s got a gun!” they scream but as a shot rings out they find themselves pushed to the side. On the ground is Kyle, their old friend from prison, having taken a bullet for them. 

A week later they sit in their apartment waiting with bated breath as the reviews for the R&P rip-off pour in. 37%… 38%… 39% and it stops. “One review and it would have topped 40% and never qualified,” Jamie says banging the giant box still taking up half the apartment. “If only we knew someone else who had a review website… that would be perfect,” Patrick says with a chuckle. Kyle, staying with them while recovering, softly says, “I do, but you probably aren’t interested in it.” He shrugs, red-faced. They look at him quizzically. “Uh,” he continues, “it’s called SMT… SexyMannequinTimes.com… we primarily review films that have sexy mannequins in them.” That’s right! We are indeed watching the premier film series for SexyMannequinTimes.com (warning: not a real website… hopefully) Mannequin and Mannequin 2: On the Move. The mere existence is dumbfounding, but no more dumbfounding than the existence of Weekend at Bernie’s and Weekend at Bernie’s 2. This also marked the transition from sequels/franchises into big ol’ bomb town where we are only watching films that are rated BOMB in Leonard Maltin’s review book. Let’s go!

Mannequin (1987) – BMeTric: 33.2; Notability: 27

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 11.6%; Notability: top 50.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 12.6% Higher BMeT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Teen Wolf Too, Ishtar, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, Surf Nazis Must Die, Who’s That Girl, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, Masters of the Universe, House II: The Second Story, Over the Top, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Burglar, Cherry 2000; Higher Notability: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Masters of the Universe, Who’s That Girl, Ishtar, Walker, Cherry 2000, Blind Date, Burglar, Fatal Beauty, Over the Top, House II: The Second Story, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, The Sicilian, Slam Dance, The Believers, Nuts, Creepshow 2, Malone, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, Rent-a-Cop, and 8 more; Lower RT: Teen Wolf Too, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, House II: The Second Story, The Sicilian, Hello Again, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Date with an Angel, Flowers in the Attic, Masters of the Universe, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Russkies, The Squeeze, Rent-a-Cop, Siesta, Beyond Therapy, Slam Dance, Surf Nazis Must Die; Notes: Borderline cult classic right there. You get that up to around 6.2 and you’re cooking with fire. The Notability is relatively low which is interesting … I assume there are like five characters total and the film is basically just Weird Science but with a mannequin.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Cattrall is an ancient Egyptian spirit who embodies a department store mannequin; McCarthy is the only one who sees her come to life, and falls in love with her. Attempt [sic] to recreate the feeling of old screwball comedies is absolute rock-bottom fare. Dispiriting to anyone who remembers what movie comedy ought to be. Followed by a sequel.

(Huh … uh, none of the advertisements or anything actually suggest the Egyptian spirit thing. I sure hope they expand on that explicitly in a bizarre opening segment. If not that I hope they instead basically never mention it at all.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTfhUj4LZVE/

(Oh shit, Cannon. Wait a minute, is that the cop from Police Academy … they really were on a studio contract back in the day. The concept of the film is so very, very strange … I kind of dig it. The 80s were a hell of a drug.)

Directors – Michael Gottlieb – (Known For: The Shrimp on the Barbie; Future BMT: Mr. Nanny; A Kid in King Arthur’s Court; BMT: Mannequin; Notes: The Shrip on the Barbie was a film he disowned, an Alan Smithee film. He became a video game producer after he stopped directing. He died in 2014.)

Writers – Edward Rugoff (written by) – (Known For: Double Take; Future BMT: Mr. Nanny; BMT: Mannequin: On the Move; Mannequin; Notes: Clearly the writing partner of Gottlieb. His father was also in the movie business and ran something called Cinema 5 which was some independent film thing back in the day.)

Michael Gottlieb (written by) – (Future BMT: Mr. Nanny; BMT: Mannequin: On the Move; Mannequin; Notes: Filmed, edited, and directed the Playboy Mid Summer Night’s Dream Party in 1985.)

Actors – Andrew McCarthy – (Known For: Weekend at Bernie’s; Pretty in Pink; St. Elmo’s Fire; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Less Than Zero; The Joy Luck Club; Main Street; Only You; The Good Guy; Jours tranquilles à Clichy; Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle; Night of the Running Man; The Beniker Gang; Camp Hell; I Woke Up Early the Day I Died; Getting In; Stag; New Waterford Girl; Dr. M; Cosas que nunca te dije; Future BMT: Class; Fresh Horses; Mulholland Falls; Year of the Gun; Kansas; Catholic Boys; BMT: Weekend at Bernie’s II; Mannequin; Notes: Is a pretty big television director, directing things like The Black List and Orange is the New Black. He still acts in stuff, although I couldn’t tell you the last thing I saw him in.)

Kim Cattrall – (Known For: Sex and the City; Big Trouble in Little China; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Ghost; Live Nude Girls; Ice Princess; The Devil and Daniel Webster; Horrible Histories: The Movie; Masquerade; The Return of the Musketeers; Rosebud; Hold-Up; Above Suspicion; City Limits; Meet Monica Velour; The Tiger’s Tail; Tribute; Midnight Crossing; Ticket to Heaven; Future BMT: 15 Minutes; Porky’s; Unforgettable; Turk 182; BMT: Crossroads; Baby Geniuses; Sex and the City 2; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Mannequin; Police Academy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: She had a wild career, being on the last actors on the studio contract system (I think in the late 70s, hard to tell). She has had a very public feud with Sarah Jessica Parker about Sex and the City and is not going to appear in the third film.)

Estelle Getty – (Known For: Mask; Tootsie; Stuart Little; Deadly Force; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Mannequin; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot in 1993; Notes: Won an emmy for Golden Girls. Was married for over 50 years.)

Budget/Gross – $7.9 million / Domestic: $42,721,196 (Worldwide: $42,721,196)

(That is a huge success! No wonder they decided to make a sequel. It is still confusing that they decided to make a sequel with a whole new cast and a totally different plotline … but we’ll deal with that in that preview.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (8/39): Mannequin is a real dummy, outfitted with a ludicrous concept and a painfully earnest script that never springs to life, despite the best efforts of an impossibly charming Kim Cattrall.

(They had to go with “dummy” huh? I would have as well. And yes, Kim Cattrall was impossibly charming in the 80s, just go watch Police Academy! Reviewer Highlight: There`s some solid talent here, but Gottlieb’s overemphatic direction reduces them all to broad caricature — the kind of crazed mugging that isn’t often seen outside the boundaries of Saturday morning kiddie shows. – Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune)

Poster – Manalive

(This poster really tickles me for a variety of reasons. Like why is he leaning against a rad motorcycle?… why is he wearing a tuxedo?… the dude is a down on his luck artist. And those are kind of the most normal parts of the poster. It is bad, but kinda ironically good… but still other than the font it is basically everything I hate in a poster. C-.)

Tagline(s) – When she comes to life, anything can happen! (C-)

(Good thing they didn’t use the first tagline here, cause that one doesn’t make sense. This at least is telling you the plot of the film, albeit in the blandest, least creative way possible. Also a tad too long.)

Keyword – mannequin

Top 10: Eyes Wide Shut (1999), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Prisoners (2013), Blade Runner (1982), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Escape Room (2019), Stardust (2007), Now You See Me (2013), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), V for Vendetta (2005)

Future BMT: 95.8 Disaster Movie (2008), 56.2 Land of the Lost (2009), 55.1 The Bachelor (1999), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 49.8 Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), 47.0 Beverly Hills Ninja (1997), 46.1 Sleepover (2004), 42.7 Maximum Risk (1996), 42.2 Transylvania 6-5000 (1985);

BMT: Mannequin: On the Move (1991), Mannequin (1987), Friday the 13th (2009), House of Wax (2005), Battlefield Earth (2000), Perfect Stranger (2007), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), Grind (2003)

(Hell yeah there is a mannequin in Silent Hill: Revelation. There is a whole mannequin monster! The Bachelor, now that is a film I haven’t thought of in years! I can’t wait to watch bonafide movie star Chris O’Donnell in action.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Estelle Getty is No. 3 billed in Mannequin and No. 2 billed in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Director Michael Gottlieb got the idea for this film when he was walking by a store window and was startled to “see” a mannequin move by itself. He realized it was just an optical illusion caused by a combination of lights and shadows, but began to wonder what would happen if a mannequin actually DID come to life.

The scenes for the rival store Illustra were filmed at an actual department store, Boscov’s in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. It’s easy to distinguish by the square chandeliers and neon department signs on the walls. (Probably not actually that easy …)

Originally, the lead role was written to be an older, lonely storekeeper, with Dudley Moore in mind for the role, but when Andrew McCarthy came on board, the role was rewritten to be the role of a young artist. (fun)

Before filming this movie, Kim Cattrall spent six weeks posing for a Santa Monica sculptor, who captured her likeness. Six mannequins, each with a different expression, were made. Cattrall later recalled, “There’s no way to play a mannequin except if you want to sit there as a dummy. I did a lot of body-building because I wanted to be as streamlined as possible. I wanted to match the mannequins as closely as I could.” (Kim Cattrall you are a gem)

The organ Jonathan Switcher sits at in the dance sequence is an actual organ in the John Wanamaker building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the largest operational pipe organ in the world. (wait wait wait wait wait … dance sequence?)

Kim Cattrall stated doing this movie made her feel grown up: “I’ve become more of a leading lady instead of, like, the girl. All the other movies that I’ve done I played the girl, and the plot was around the guy. I’ve never had anybody to do special lighting for me, or find out what clothes look good on me, or what camera angles are best for me. In this movie, I learned a lot from it. It’s almost like learning old Hollywood techniques. I’ve always been sort of a tomboy. I feel great being a girl, wearing a dress.”

One of the original Emmy mannequins used in the filming of the movie was restored by the store South Fellini and is currently on display in their store, which is located in the Fashion District in center city Philadelphia (the head/torso are the original pieces).

David Isaacs and Ken Levine did an uncredited rewrite of the screenplay. They later did a rewrite for Mannequin: On the Move (1991) for which they were credited. (Cool)

This movie is the rare Hollywood romance where the lead actress is older than the lead actor. Kim Cattrall was 30 years old when she played Ema Hesire aka Emmy; Andrew McCarthy was only 24 years old when he played Jonathan Switcher.

Meshach Taylor made a cameo as flamboyant window dresser Hollywood Montrose in the music video of the movie’s theme song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by the rock band Jefferson Starship. He also reprised the role in the sequel Mannequin: On the Move (1991). (A cameo? He’s basically the entire trailer!)

The series episode Journey to the Unknown: Eve (1968) featured the story of Albert Baker (Dennis Waterman), a young man who sees in the display window of a department store an attractive mannequin. It comes to life and smiles at him, he falls in love and so gets a job at the store as a window dresser. (Isn’t this all based on Pygmalion?)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Albert Hammond, Diane Warren, 1988)

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