In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_nnkx3ahyot7p3au92dnglf4pkwa

The Congress

"The Congress" is a roll call of the orgiastic pleasures and bountiful comforts that art provides, and, a reminder of what waits for us when…

Thumb_as_above_so_below_xlg

As Above, So Below

It's that rare found-footage film with a strong premise, a memorably eccentric style, and plenty of energy to burn. It's also poorly conceived, and hard…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Mannequin

  |  

This movie is a real curiosity. It's dead. I don't mean it's bad.

A lot of bad movies are fairly throbbing with life. "Mannequin" is dead. The wake lasts 1 1/2 hours, and then we can leave the theater.

Halfway through, I was ready for someone to lead us in reciting the rosary.

The movie stars Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall, actors I have admired before and will, no doubt, admire again. In years to come, they probably will look back on this project with a rueful smile and a shrug, much as Paul Newman must remember "The Silver Chalice." In "Mannequin," McCarthy plays a hapless young man who is fired from one job after another, and Cattrall plays an Egyptian princess who is reincarnated as a dummy in a Philadelphia department store window.

When she comes to life, she gives him the inspiration to decorate great windows, and that gives him confidence in himself. I am not leaving out very much here.

The supporting characters have been recycled out of failed sitcoms: Felix, the dim-witted night watchman, who spends most of his time talking to his dog. Hollywood, the flamboyantly gay black window dresser, who becomes the hero's only friend. Mrs. Timkin, the good-hearted owner of the department store. Roxie, the hero's bitchy former girlfriend, who is jealous of the dummy. And so on.

All of these people do exactly what we expect them to do, exactly when we expect them to do it. They also sputter a lot. People sputter all the time in pulp fiction. Have you ever really seen anyone sputter in life? If I am not mistaken, there is even a character in this movie who says, "Why...why...you...you...." It's not often you get that line anymore.

The gimmick in the movie is that the mannequin can only come to life when McCarthy is watching her. This rule is enforced rather loosely. For example, when they ride down the street on his motorcycle, she only freezes up when other characters in the movie see her.

Miscellaneous passersby don't count. Left unexplained is how she managed to leave ancient Egypt and land in 1987 understanding the language and nuances of modern-day Philadelphia.

McCarthy and Cattrall are fairly helpless in the face of this material. For a look at what Cattrall can do in a good script, see "Ticket to Heaven," the movie about indoctrination into a cult group.

For McCarthy's good work, see "Pretty In Pink." Meshach Taylor makes the best of the gay window dresser, who is an anthology of stereotypes.

And Carole Davis, as the bitch, has the movie's single funny line: She pushes somebody down an escalator and then complains that she broke her camera.

Studying the press material for "Mannequin," I learn that Michael Gottlieb, the director, got the idea for this movie five years ago when he was walking down Fifth Avenue and thought he saw a mannequin move in the window of Bergdorf Goodman. Just thought you'd like to know.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Different rules apply

White privilege, lived.

Ferguson, Missouri: Third World America vs. Atlas Shrugged

An FFC looks at the horrible situation in Ferguson, MO and what it says about where we are and where we're going.

Interview: Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse on what Hollywood’s love of blockbusters means for the rest of us

An interview with Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse, author of “Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, ...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus