Romance, magic, and goofing around.Mannequin
is a 1987 romantic comedy written and directed by Michael Gottlieb, about a new employee at a struggling old department store who discovers that one of their mannequins comes alive, but only when they are alone (it is actually an ancient Egyptian princess under a curse.) They fall in love and, with her help, he revitalizes the store thanks to the crazy window displays he designs.
This is 1980s High Concept
, that still never tries to be anything other than silly and fun. It stars Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall, the latter who of course would later star in Sex and the City
This seems to be based on an old episode of The Twilight Zone
, but the director just came up with the idea after seeing an optical illusion in a store window that made one of the mannequins appear to move. It also shares striking similarities with the 1948 film One Touch of Venus,
in which a statue of the goddess
comes to life when kissed by a young window dresser.
There was also a sequel released in 1991 called Mannequin: On The Move
. It stars William Ragsdale and Kristy Swanson.
Contains examples of:
- Ambiguously Gay: Arguably Mr. Richards, who, while not as flamboyant as Hollywood, has his gay moments.
- And This Is for...: Spoofed.
- Animated Credits Opening: In which the Egyptian princess travels the world while being whisked through history and, among other things, proves to Columbus that the world is round. She briefly visited the future before backtracking.
- Award Bait Song: Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, by Starship.
- Because Destiny Says So: Apparently Switcher was meant to bring the mannequin to life and break her curse, since only a Starving Artist could sense all the right parts to put together to make her. And of course the whole bit with him being the only one who can see her.
- Camp Gay: Hollywood (that's his name).
- Caught on Tape: How Claire indicates (to the security personnel for Illustra) she found out about Richards.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Pet Homosexual uses a fire hose to blast a gaggle of security guards and cops. Then he runs out of water and the hose... deflates.
- Doing It for the Art: In-Universe. Switcher gets fired for trying to be expressive in jobs that don't need it, until Prince & Company turns out to need someone like him.
- Except for one job where he was allowed to get creative with folding of balloons, and was fired for something else.
- Dude, She's Like, Out Cold in a Pile of Trash!: Roxie clearly didn't appreciate the on-the-lips wake up kiss she got from the janitor near the end of the film.
- The Eighties: Part of the film's charm.
- Even the Rival Has Standards: When Claire orders burglary charges be laid against Felix and Richards, the other Illustra security guards have no problem turning against their bosses.
- Jerkass: Arguably, Switcher's boss at the mannequin factory in the beginning of the film. He fired Switcher because he cared about "quantity", not Switcher's artistic talent. The same goes for the later bosses at Switcher's take of numerous odd jobs.
- Lame Rhyme Dodge: Switcher quickly covers with "Nice hall" after Richards overhears him calling him an asshole.
- Large Ham: Hollywood. James Spader has fun as Mr. Richards. Also Felix (G.W. Bailey) and Armand.
- Literal Ass Kissing: An accidental case of this in the movie, as when two guys, Richards and Felix, plan to have Jonathan Switcher work for a competing fashion clothing store by stealing mannequins from the Prince & Company display window, Richards has his mouth buried in a mannequin's behind while carrying it.
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: When Roxy submits to her Abhorrent Admirer, she goes about it so abhorrently that he is unable to perform.
- The Mole: Richards is secretly working for B.J. Wert. Claire didnít know this at the time she fired him and Felix, however.
- Mummy Wrap: Ema somehow did this to herself to hide in a tomb back in ancient Egypt.
- Perception Filter: No one can see the mannequin alive and moving except Switcher (until his desperate act to save her and The Power of Love breaks her curse).
- Pet Homosexual: Hollywood Montrose.
- Picture-Perfect Presentation: At the end, in imitation of how the mannequin had been posing and going from life to mannequin, she, Switcher, Hollywood, and the store owner all pose as part of a wedding-themed store window before "coming alive" to finish the actual wedding with the priest.
- Pretty in Mink (see page image): One scene has her in a huge fur coat and then flashing her black undies underneath.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Mr. Richards.
- Pygmalion Plot: Almost literally.
- Queer People Are Funny
- Rebellious Princess: Ema placed herself under a curse because she doesn't want to be forced in an Arranged Marriage.
- The Rival: Illustra to Prince & Company.
- Rule of Funny: They didn't even try to go for accuracy with Ancient Egypt. It was all evidently for laughs.
- Saving the Department Store: There's a level of this occurring in what Switcher does at Prince & Company, since by being able to finally use his creativity, he designs mannequin windows that wow the crowds and revitalize the store — which had, thanks to The Rival Illustra and a lack of imagination, been doing very poorly (ironically now the case for Illustra) and was in danger of closing. He becomes Vice President, when Richards is fired, for it.
- Secret Chaser: Felix. By the time he knows for a fact the (now-living) woman in front of him is the mannequin but he can't prove it and no one will believe him, he seems pretty close to a nervous breakdown.
- Secret Keeper: Claire tells Switcher that she knows something going on between him and Ema.
- Sexy Coat Flashing: Also see Pretty in Mink.
- Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: The mummy bandages that are left after our protagonist gets whisked away magically.
- Starving Artist: Switcher. It's implied that only an true artist could have brought Ema to life.
- Take My Hand: During the finale, saving the mannequin from the assembly line chopper.
- Woman Scorned: Roxie, who (more for this reason than because she works for Illustra) ends up trying to vengefully destroy the mannequin girl for whom Switcher jilted her. (Though naturally, she was shown to be shallow as a puddle, vain, and dismissive of his talents and future prospects to justify this.)