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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_sleepless

Sleepless

A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.

Thumb_book_of_love_ver2

The Book of Love

The feature debut of director and co-writer Bill Purple does not feature a single authentic moment. Imperfect would actually be a step up.

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…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Festivals & Awards Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Reviews

Mannequin

  |  

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

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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...

Netflix's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" an Unfunny Parody of Sadness

A review of Netflix's new series, Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which premieres January 13.

2017 Golden Globes: Meryl Streep vs. Trumpland

Meryl Streep and other awards recipients shared their thoughts on an America under Donald Trump during last night's G...

The Return of Peter Cushing: Another Look at an Underrated Career

A look at highlights from the career of the great Peter Cushing.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus