Fug the Fromage: Mannequin


The other night, working late, I flipped on HBO and stumbled into this:

Yes, it’s Mannequin, a movie whose main titles flagrantly rip off the animated opuses of Savage Steve Holland, and which I watched so much on VHS as a kid that I think I broke the tape. Between Andrew McCarthy having to get handsy with a giant doll, Kim Cattrall, a young Lt. Provenza, Meschach “Designing Women” Taylor, James “Everything” Spader, Estelle “Sophia Petrillo” Getty, and That Actor I Always Mix Up With The One Who Played Ferris Bueller’s Dad, it seemed ripe for a trip to the Fug Nation Fromagerie. When you see TV’s Samantha Jones in her youth playing a half-human sex doll, you wonder if Sex and the City is the way Emmy’s life might have gone if she’d ditched the semi-pervy sculptor and learned that she doesn’t need to be dependent on a man for her freedom. Alas. And if I’ve just spoiled the movie for you… well, I haven’t, because you know how it ends even if you don’t know how it ends; Hollywood Montrose and the aforementioned Mr. Spader will make sticking around worth your time; and it includes the single worst piece of prop-making I have seen.

The best part about the main titles is that a) they show up after the movie itself has begun, grinding it to a halt just so we can have an animated romp involving a time-traveling elevator and animals who think they’re people; and b) they’re so freaking weird that they make you wonder what might’ve been if the movie HAD been an animated romp involving a time-traveling elevator and animals who think they’re people.


I just wanted to show you James Spader’s title card. He is a pig emperor of Rome while it’s burning around him. I hope someone dear to him has framed this and hung it in his study, or better, that he will one day again be nominated for an Emmy and skip the ceremony, so that they can put this up as a headshot when his name is read.

Okay, let’s dip into this movie and see what a 1987 rom-com has to teach us about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Emmy, who is terrible casting for someone who supposedly hails from Egypt, does not want to marry a camel-dung dealer. I just wish the show could’ve come up with a visual way to convey how shackled and stifled and silenced she feels, because this is too subtle for me.  While she gets lectured by her mother, Emmy prays to the gods, and gets zapped out of her swaddling, which leads us to our first lesson of the film: If You Are Praying To The Gods For Delivery From Your Dung-y Destiny, Be More Specific. I am not entirely sure where Emmy went before this, but she does at some point end up living inside the plaster head of a painted lady whose name really should have been Razzmatazz:

Creepily, Emmy later implies that she could feel Andrew McCarthy putting her together, which makes me wonder if, like Voldemort, she was split up into all the different mannequin parts and just needed Andrew McCarthy to find all the right horcruxes so she could regain her human form.

Really, she could count herself lucky that his tender artist’s soul is so attuned to mannequin bottoms that he was able to find her the right one, despite almost accidentally affixing her to one that was male. ‘Man’nequin is a very different movie.

Andrew’s name is Jonathan Switcher, which could only have been more apt if he’d been called Manny Quinn. See, Jonathan switches jobs more often than he switches shoes. (This is actually true — he wears those bowling shoes in nearly every scene.) And after he’s fired from the mannequin shop — not for grievously inappropriate caressing but just for being slow — he manages to get sacked from making balloon animals, making pizza, and clipping hedges, all because he is a misunderstood artist and nobody loves beautiful things anymore. Look, son, that’s a nice thought, but I want my pizza to be delicious, not gorgeous.

He also has a girlfriend, Roxie, who was the woman on Sex and the City who got Carrie sucked into accidental prostitution. It makes no sense that they’re together. Jonathan drives a motorcycle; Roxie is so ashamed of this, despite the fact that everyone in the ’80s except the Wakefield twins liked motorcycles, that she tries to hide when he picks her up at work. Roxie likes boxy business separates and buns and stretch limousines and sex without eye contact, and Jonathan enjoys dreaming and deep glances and women who are made of synthetic materials. So I guess that’s Lesson #2: If You’re Going To Date Someone With Whom You Have Nothing In Common, At Least Make Sure She’s Receptive Of Unconventional Threesome Partners. The subsection of that lesson is that I should stop using the # sign to denote “number,” because some young whippersnapper is going to read that as, “Lesson hashtag two,” and wonder what this has to do with Twitter.

Speaking of: When Roxie dumps Jonathan for not being able to hold down a job (Lesson No. 3: If You Have A Movie Villain, Don’t Make Us Side With Her When She Dumps A Grown Man For Being Completely Dumb About How The World Works), it starts to rain; as Jonathan sits sadly at a stoplight wondering why there are so many songs about rainbows, he looks up and finds his connection.

Isn’t she pretty in pink?

The next day, Jonathan switches — SEE WHAT I DID THERE — into stalker mode, going back to the mighty Prince & Company store to try and fondle his inanimate passion. There, he meets Estelle Getty.

She is the woman who inherited the store and runs it, and when I saw this movie and realized it was being made at the same time as The Golden Girls, and that — gasp — she was YOUNGER than Sophia Petrillo and in fact THE SAME AGE as the other girls and maybe even younger, and WHAT IS THIS MAGIC WE CALL TELEVISION, it blew my face off. Also, I love that she has a pince-nez, which is exactly the way I want to roll when I’m her age, or whenever I get glasses, because of all the awesome gesturing you can do with them.

Meeting her is so exciting that fire starts shooting out of Jonathan’s switcher.

Actually, because of Reasons, he tries to save her from a swinging sign and ends up riding it like a seesaw while it electrocutes his sperm. She is so impressed — she doesn’t know yet that he won’t need them, because mannequins don’t have manniwombs — that she gives him a job as a stock boy. Lesson No. 4: When Life Hands You Lemons, Zap Your Junk.

And now, before the doll porn, the real-estate porn:

Prince & Company is actually the old Wanamaker’s (now Macy’s) in Philadelphia, and that is the world’s largest pipe organ, which was installed to fill the store with music and then expanded over the years to make sure it actually did so. There is all kinds of information on the store on its Wikipedia page, but suffice to say that if I had lived in Philadelphia at the time of Mannequin, I would not have shopped anywhere else, or gone anywhere else, and also might have started dating a mannequin if it meant getting to walk around this place. However, the store is going broke, because everyone is shopping at Illustra, which is the idiotic rival for which Roxie works.

Let us compare them:

Next to Prince & Company, Illustra is like tinsel dysentery. I am deeply depressed just looking at it. But this sight cheers me up every time:

James Spader plays basically the exact opposite of his Pretty In Pink character, and employs all the subtlety we’ve come to expect from him as an actor (if you’ve seen any promos for The Blacklist, you know what I mean). His character is a vain, prissy, ass-kissing, backstabbing, self-serving twit, and I really enjoy imagining what it was like for him and Andrew McCarthy when the director yelled “CUT” and they had to make small talk about the last time they worked together, when Spader had flowing locks and leisure suits and sex eyes and McCarthy was basically a tree with lips, and then had to promise each other that they would NEVER speak of this movie to each other again. Lesson No. 5: If You Are Ever Going To Be In The Room With James Spader, Make Yourself A Badge With This Picture and Wear It Over Your Heart But Never Acknowledge Its Presence And See How He Reacts.

As you can guess, James doesn’t like that Estelle Getty has hired a boy off the street who has no references and no qualifications besides “can screw mannequins together,” which he doesn’t know means something entirely different to Jonathan than to most people.

Over at Illustra, the subtlety continues, with a flailing cartoon of a foreign man named Armand. As Roxie tries to work, Armand is panting all over Roxie’s neck and thrusting his groin at her and feeling her up and constantly heaving that he’d like to have sex all over her. This is treated as the height of hilarity, and not the repulsive sexual harassment it is. The ’80s were a dumb, dumb time. Let’s focus instead on all the terrible things on Roxie’s wall. I don’t even know what that thing is on the top left — why is that eye so angry? Maybe it has seen the movie.

And now it’s time for Lt. Provenza.

He is the security guard, with the bulldog named Rambo, who believes himself to be a man of military dignity and skill and precision, but actually has the intellect of a pea that’s been enclosed in Tupperware and then shaken rather violently by a curious toddler. He will not stand for baloney, nor possibly for bologna.

Meanwhile, Jonathan’s heyyyyydar has led him straight to Emmy’s window, where he proceeds to caress her and wax poetic about how REAL she seems to him, even as he gazes at her utterly plastic face.

It’s ONLY not creepy because we know it’s Kim Cattrall. But HE doesn’t know it’s Kim Cattrall, so HOW does he not see that this is EXTREMELY ICKY? Shouldn’t he be getting counseling for the fact that all he wants to do is stroke the face of a plastic woman? Perhaps he should call Spencer Pratt about that.

Before he can, though, he gets caught, because a) he’s in a window, and b) people work at this magical place called a “store.” One of them is the most nuanced and delicate portrayal of a homosexual man ever committed to film.

His name is Hollywood Montrose, and he dresses like he just skipped off the set of a children’s television program on which he plays an adult five-year old named Art Brush who is friends with Music Jones and Books Shields and Math Johnson and they team up to use their special skills to solve problems like how to share crayons, or why mommy cries.

Hollywood is flamboyant, but also incredibly friendly and supportive and welcoming, and not at all wigged out by some doll fetishist who’s lurking in his place of work. And as a reward for that, he gets this:

It’s hard to tell from this shot, but Jonathan gives an epic terrified eye roll, because there is nothing more frightening than an incredibly friendly gay person who wants nothing more than to talk to you and make jokes and ensure that everyone is happy. What an ordeal! How does poor Jonathan cope? This is obviously Lesson No. 6: If You Encounter A Gay Man In The Wild, Do Not Make Any Sudden Movements, Nor Engage The Man, Lest You Be Buried In A Fatal Avalanche of Pleasantness.

And Lesson No. 7: Gay Men Will Also Ask You If Their Thighs Are Too Fat, Because They’re JUST Like Women, See, And Don’t Women Always Freak Out About Whether Their Thighs Are Too Fat?

And Lesson No. 8: Gay People Are Just F’ing Terrifying With How Much They Talk And Have Feelings And Stuff, Like, Can’t They Just Go Away And Leave Us Perfectly Normal Straight People Alone With The Mannequins We Want To Molest? God. 

I guess we can’t help the era in which the movie was made, but still — I hope it embarrasses the writer and director and actors, in retrospect, to see how badly they tried to make this character a court jester even when Hollywood is actually the most top-notch human being of all of them. We see a woman casually calling him a “fairy,” as a laugh line, which is terrible. I don’t blame Meschach Taylor, because while carrying out the job he was hired to do, he cared enough to find a way to give Hollywood a genuine, pulsing dignity. He may cry loud, but he walks tall. He walks proud. He is at home in himself. He’s cheerfully uninterested in your approval. Which is good because these people are all too dumb for him.

Next up is the part where Jonathan gets really, really lucky, because he dodges a lot of therapy bills and probably years of trying to explain to other girlfriends why he wants to make plaster molds of them:

As soon as the terrifyingly nice gay man leaves, Emmy comes alive, joyfully clasping herself to Jonathan and panting about his wonderful hands that pieced her together. He gives her the same look he gave Hollywood, as if gay men and mannequins that turn to flesh are on exactly the same level of cosmic strangeness, and then chases after her.

Roxie, who had apparently agreed to a make-up date with him, passed out on her couch while waiting. Seriously, she’s wearing a fancy gold wrap on a date with a guy she dumped for having no money, no ambition, and no car? Lesson No. 9: Please Be More Selective About When You Deploy A Gold Lame Wrap. 

Somewhere during their frenzied first night together, Emmy and Jonathan do very little getting to know each other, and a lot of building a window with mechanized tennis rackets and a ball that goes back and forth across the window, and a decal custom-made for the bottom right corner of the window that gives the display a name. I’m unclear why no small talk happened during the construction of this feat of electrical engineering, and where they got the expertise, considering Jonathan is a pizza-boy balloon-animal-maker frustrated sculptor who most likely couldn’t find the business end of an extension cord if it were disguised as a mannequin breast.

Nobody knew they were doing this. Here is my question: What did Hollywood think was going to happen with this window? Was nobody going to do anything to it? Did Hollywood think it was already done? I think Jonathan and Emmy just pulled a big douche move on him.

Speaking of: Armand swings by to offer Roxie a ride (excuse me: He actually says, “Can I ride you?” because jokes about banging her are hilarious), just as Jonathan comes up to apologize. Roxie sneers at him and hauls her incredibly unflattering suit into Armand’s convertible. Seriously, she is all about erasing her contours. She looks like a lawyer clown.

This is Jonathan’s loft. He can’t hold down a job, but he has a grand piano?

This is B.J. Wert.

I know this because I’ve seen this movie a hundred times, and also, it says so right there on his nameplate. He’s the head of Illustra, and he is enraged that Prince & Company — the dying rival he wanted to buy out — is getting so much attention because of its new tennis window. Let’s revisit the evidence to see why that might be.

If you had to choose between a nice, lively window and one with a faceless, drab mannequin standing under a neon sign and in front of a curtain that looks like the by-product of a showgirl giant’s paper shredder, which would you pick?

Jonathan, of course, is busted for Shenanigans, which include drawing attention to the store, and causing people to want to shop there. I can see why this might infuriate the board. Hollywood is there to support him in a set of glasses that looks like it doubles as a comb. He is resplendent. They should have cloned him and made a band. It’s a measure of what a wonderful person Hollywood is that, instead of wondering why Jonathan stepped all over his job, he’s there to champion Jonathan’s efforts and make sure he doesn’t get fired. And it’s a measure of how much other things and people are terrible that Jonathan acts like Hollywood is a rash he can’t cure.

Then Hollywood threatens to go to extreme measures and makes like he will rip off his clothes…

I’m kidding. That’s just what Jonathan THINKS Hollywood looks like on the inside.

Really, Hollywood tears away the color to reveal a sensible suit underneath it all. I always loved that moment. Look at the extremes Hollywood is willing to go to, just to save the job of a guy who is basically about to steal his. Jonathan, though, still has a very skeptical eyeball. Granted, some of this is because Hollywood is mapping out detailed, extravagant protests in his favor and Jonathan doesn’t want to make a fuss. But still. You have no friends, Jonathan. Do not look a gift big gay loose cannon in the mouth.

Also, despite James Spader calling him a sociopath, the board decides to hire Jonathan to do more windows. James Spader pretends he is the one who saved Jonathan’s ass, blah blah blah LIES. I forgot to screengrab this — or accidentally deleted it — because I am a bad person.

That night, Jonathan can’t revive Emmy until he closes the curtain, at which point nobody else can see her so she comes alive. This is important because they totally ignore that logic, and indeed all logic, later. So the two of them talk while the Ken doll next to her leans in and tries to break off a piece of this action, because he can count to three and he knows he’s stumbled on a bucket-list situation.

Emmy also starts dropping all these tidbits about how she knew Christopher Columbus, and Michalangelo, but she never says in exactly what form she existed. Since I’m pretty sure Rome and the Santa Maria were not well-stocked with mannequins, does this mean she was human then? Or stuck in another inanimate object? Was she David? Was she a lusty compass or tri-corner hat? What are the rules? Lesson No. 10: The Biggest Rule of Ancient Egyptian Gods’ Life-Zapping Club Is, Don’t Talk About Ancient Egyptian Gods’ Life-Zapping Club Rules.

Instead, Emmy decides it’s time for a montage. In the worst-acted moment in a movie oozing with them, she accidentally sits on a sound board, then leaps up after the barest half-beat comes out of the speakers and breathes, “Where do they hide the musicians?!?” You’re going to tell me a woman who’s lived in every other time period doesn’t understand sound systems? Did she never pause for a break in an era that had gramophones? Also, Kim Cattrall didn’t leave enough time between “OMG what is that noise” and “OMG it’s music OMG who is playing it OMG they must be hiding musicians somewhere OMG this is magic OMG I should say this out loud.”

She’s also wearing cocktail pajamas and starts snapping her fingers and massaging her hair like she’s in an Herbal Essences ad. And that’s when the montage begins.

Jonathan takes a turn playing a smoking gangster. What the hell kind of department store is this that sells giant imitation guns? And where the hell is this staircase? I would love to know if that thing is really in Wanamaker’s/Macy’s, because you know where it looks like it belongs?

In fact, so does Emmy:

Then they change clothes and scrub off her face and decide to do some tangoing:

And of course, a Phantom moment with the pipe organ:

While Emmy dances on part of it in a satin coat and panties.

It should be noted that so far none of this has awakened Lt. Provenza’s suspicions.

Next up: An ’80s music video parody in the freight elevator…

… some gratuitous underwear shots as they pretend to be a rich, detached codger and his bored trophy wife in furs…

… and a blouse the likes of which would later inspire the collected works of David Silver.

Hollywood, of course, stops by on his way out, prompting Emmy to turn back into a Mannequin while she’s crouched down and pointing. Nobody would construct a mannequin in that position and yet Hollywood doesn’t even blink. Lesson No. 11: Pay Attention, People. We also need to applaud that these one-sided glasses are the exact mirror opposite of the ones he wore earlier despite the fact that it’s the same day and he’s in the same outfit. Perhaps the left swoop is for the a.m., and we switch to right in the p.m.

Then they throw together a window despite the fact that a painted backdrop and a new window decal would presumably require some advance notice. Also, I would deeply enjoy seeing someone go biking in that outfit. Jessica McClintock needs to sponsor a Tour de France team.

Everyone is very excited about mannequins moving their legs. No one more so than Jonathan, obviously, but we’ll get to that later.

Roxie lets her hair down and lures Jonathan to a restaurant where he once worked — and got fired, for burning down the kitchen — so she can try to hire him at Illustra. Lesson No. 12: You Were Never That Important To Each Other If He Never Even Told You The Story Of The Time He Worked at A Fancy Philly Restaurant And Almost Burned It To The Ground. He also turns down the job with Illustra because he sees right through Roxie’s sudden pleasantness, and also, none of their mannequins will have the courtesy to turn into flesh and blood so that he doesn’t have to confront his lust issues.

So naturally, these two have themselves a kickin’ fake vacation in the cruise-ship section of the department store, which I’m pretty sure does not exist.

And Roxie is there to sneak in and photograph his mysterious work partner so that they can lure her away, and Armand is there to make thrusting motions and idiotic sexual suggestions. Lt. Provenza is there for broad comedy, because he sure as hell isn’t actually securing any perimeters. Although, since James Spader begged him to keep an eye on Jonathan, he has done a marvelous job keeping an eye on Jonathan:

So in the middle of a tickle-fight, Emmy turns back into a doll. Provenza finds this perverse, and the thing is, he’s a rube but he’s also totally right. We’re supposed to think he’s this hateful buffoon, but seriously, what would YOU do if your boss asked you to keep an eye on a suspicious employee, and then you found said employee rolling around the floor wrapped around a mannequin? You would report that sucker, because you are not privy to the knowledge that she’s beholden to a bunch of Egyptian overlords with a sick sense of humor. And yet he’s villified for this behavior, so apparently, Lesson No. 13: Always Assume Strange Behavior Can Be Explained Away By Someone Being Beholden To A Bunch of Egyptian Overlords With A Sick Sense of Humor, and further, Lesson No. 14: Always Blame Your Strange Behavior On Being Beholden To A Bunch of Egyptian Overlords With A Sick Sense of Humor.

Emmy manages to come alive while Provenza’s back is turned, and bonks him in the head. Everyone now please marvel at the wondrous sporting goods behind her. Strangely, shoes haven’t changed as much as I thought, or else, they’re coming back around to this. Justin Bieber would climax at the very sight of that wall.

Then later, the exertions of Provenza-gate behind them, Jonathan and Emmy start riding bikes through the store. WHERE PEOPLE ARE STILL WORKING. Poor Hollywood. He’s stuck arranging flowers and doing, I guess, all the other windows — surely there is more than one window at Prince & Company, and if not, Jonathan is an even bigger job-stealer — and nobody lets him in on the fun or even stops by to say hello. Lesson No. 15: Hollywood Always Deserves Better, Even If He Is Wearing An Ill-Advised Shirt That May Have Been Inspired By The Main Titles.

Emmy is busy hang-gliding, because she always did want to fly.

At least this gets us a look at this building’s ceiling. Seriously, what a great place to film. I hope it is also a great place to shop.

Is it just me, or has Emmy’s lipstick been touched up? Also, this is the last thing Provenza saw before she crashed into him and he passed out. Again. It has been a really busy night for everyone, and also, Mannequin Crash-Landing Reaction Shot might be my favorite thing in this entire movie. Lesson No. 16: Movies Should Have More Reaction Shots Of Inanimate Objects.

Can we also discuss that in addition to prop guns, Prince & Company sells aviator jumpsuits and caps? No wonder they’re going broke. You don’t have to sell EVERYTHING, Estelle Getty.

And so then Emmy changes into a high-necked blouse for some prim snuggling in a throne of teddy bears — and she’s right, it really would be the height of rude to bring your cleavage to a party attended by children’s toys (despite Jonathan’s obvious emotional conflict about wanting to feel her up). There’s a reason Toy Story Andy never brought girls into his room. You just can’t upset Rex like that. He has anxiety.

And THEN suddenly Jonathan is like, “Oh, crap, we forgot to do the window, and it’s almost dawn.” Emmy actually says, “We’ll never dress the mannequins in time.” This is where Jonathan gets his brainwave to do a commute-themed window where everyone is half-clothed and rushing to catch the bus/subway/whatever…

… and somehow they had time to ADD A WORKING STOPLIGHT AND BUILD FAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION THAT POPS OUT OF THE BUILDING? Lesson No. 17: The laws of space and time and engineering don’t apply if you are a plastic-fondling weirdo.

This, however, is amazing.

First, that photo looks ripped from a St. Elmo’s Fire promotional shoot. Second, someone took the time to fake a newspaper page with accurate headlines, yet couldn’t squeeze out a handful of sentences that were on-topic, as well, and instead threw in chunks of random nonsense. If you don’t want to squint at the lede, allow me: “The facts regarding the situation remain the same, state the anthorities. Details concerning the action have been given a preliminary investigation, but it is felt that only by a more detailed study will the true facts become known.” That reads like comment spam. This person a) is not good at props, b) was spending too much time making a subway train window, c) somehow didn’t foresee the day when people would screen-grab things and post the pictures on a magical network of space tubes, and d) didn’t own a VCR, apparently, because HI, PAUSE BUTTONS HAD BEEN INVENTED BY NOW, LAZYPANTS.

It goes on to be about governments and warring republics: “Arrangements for dealing with questions and disputes between the republics were further improved.” That doesn’t even make SENSE. If you’re going to put in words, can’t they be ACCURATE WORDS? Couldn’t they barf out an inept version of something that’s at least RELATED? Here are some terrible yet on-topic ledes that I just came up with in five seconds: “Struggling Philadelphia department store Prince & Company, days away from approving a sale of its assets to rival Illustra, has seen a boom in revenues thanks to innovative new window displays by local designer Jonathan Switcher.” Or, “A suspected local pervert has turned out to be really good at someone else’s job.”

So good, in fact, that he can snap his fingers and make tiny wooden yachts. Emmy is such a lucky girl. Maybe can make a tiny wooden St. Tropez to go with them.

Hollywood, meanwhile, is spending all his time wearing every fabric he possibly can all at once, and walking through the store trying to stop people from gossiping about Jonathan and the mannequin he always has under his arm. Because Lesson No. 18: Hollywood Is So Much Better Than Everyone Else In This Movie, It’s Insane, Because What Has Jonathan Ever Done For Him Except Risk Him Being Downsized. Which brings me to Lesson No. 19: Do Not Downsize Hollywood Montrose.

Over at Illustra, Armand still has no discernible job except to sniff the air around other people.

Jonathan, meanwhile, put Emmy in a dress that looks like a laundry bleeding accident just so he could carry her to the ladies’ room and tell her that he’s been made Vice President of Plastic Genitals.

She responds by kissing him, which then leads to Andrew McCarthy having to mack on a dummy. I hope this was his Christmas card that year.

Hollywood walks in on them and, again, doesn’t seem to notice that Emmy is in yet another new position that is foreign to any but the dolls who come by mail-order. Perhaps he should try untinted lenses.

He ALSO doesn’t notice that suddenly her eyes are closed and she’s puckered up. (What, no frozen mannequin tongue?) Hollywood should notice these things. If we’re going by the movie’s own broad brush strokes, Hollywood would at LEAST be obsessed with why the mannequin has a strange new terrible haircut and an uglier dye job. He wouldn’t tolerate it.

Instead, Hollywood begs Jonathan to teach him the art of making giant dioramas, and there’s so much wailing and sniveling that the people eavesdropping outside the door are flummoxed, and one lady tells a curious passerby that it’s either “our new vice president, the fairy, or the DUMMY.” Lesson No. 20: That Actress Has To Live With Having Said That Line For The Rest Of Her Life. And Lesson No. 21: Boy Howdy, Gay People And Probably Also Women Sure Do Wail A Lot, Huh? I Mean, Whoa, Easy There, Cry Pennington, AM I RIGHT.

So Jonathan promises to teach him. Because why would you do ANYTHING for a person as nice as Hollywood has been, unless he weeps you into guilty compliance? And there is a half-hearted moment of them doing the window, which ends up looking like this:

I wonder if Emmy got some perverse thrill out of making Jonathan put really hideous outfits on her rival mannequins. That one in the black and white stripes looks INSANE, like she is at the graduation ceremony for her bachelor’s degree in prison food from the Cordon Blech Institute.

Jonathan credits Emmy with the fact that he’s so adept at manhandling plastic people. “You’re in here,” he tells her, tapping his collarbone romantically, presumably offering to wear her essence like a body shot. Emmy is THIS happy about it:

Then they steal a bunch of clothes and jewels from his employer, and he straps her on his bike and they go on a date.

By which I mean, he drives her around Philadelphia and they run into people they know, like right here, when Roxie pulls up and Jonathan blithely introduces her to Emmy and acts like ROXIE is the fool when in fact this is the stuff of which mandatory psych holds are made. Lesson No. 22: If Your Ex Starts Groping And Riding Around Town With A Mannequin, And It Strikes You As Really Creepy And Strange, You Are The One With The Problem.

Naturally, James Spader and Lt. Provenza are on the case, because B.J. Wert has asked them to filch the mannequin. So they’re following Emmy and Jonathan around in a car, and what ensues is an epic chase that seems to violate all the loose rules that have been set up — namely, that only Jonathan can see her move. Remember when she couldn’t come alive until he closed the window curtain? Well, apparently, she has no problem becoming human for a second or three while riding around the city in full view of other drivers and their pursuers and any number of people who could happen to be looking out their own windows.

And of course, Provenza and Spader get offended, instead of thinking, “That’s weird, nobody makes mannequins that are flipping the bird at people, and in fact, the last time I saw this mannequin, she wasn’t doing that, and indeed TWO SECONDS AGO she wasn’t doing that, and actually every single time I’ve seen her she’s been in a wildly different position with unusually bent limbs.” Not that you would ever assume, “Well, that mannequin must be infused with the spirit of a cosmic drifter,” but you would at least tie up the bastard and quiz him. Lesson No. 23: Carry Twine.

The chase does not go well for these two. Provenza tries to jump the car through an alley and it gets stuck midair between two buildings. Spader is horrified. I can’t tell if he’s in character, or if he thinks the cameras are off and he’s reviewing his life choices.

Meanwhile, Roxie agreed to sleep with Armand because she was so squicked out by her ex-boyfriend picking a fake lady over her real bits. And Armand couldn’t get his Illustra to function, so Roxie leaves. Talk about a guy who should have fired his agent. Also, seriously, his apartment is straight out of The Sims, before The Sims even existed. He is a psychic stereotypical moron.

And then Jonathan takes Emmy to this super romantic pile of lumber alleging to be a pier of some kind, and they make out while the entire city could possibly see them. Maybe the Egyptian gods are just sort of pervy and didn’t freeze her because they wanted to see where this went.

It went to the sporting goods section. For the second time. These two REALLY have a jones for balls. Also, Lesson No. 24: Do Not Consider Sex In A Hammock Unless You Are Unnaturally Bendy, Because That Looks Potentially VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.

Afterward, they decide to spread their coital sweat all over a massive pile of furs, like a couple of young, horny PETA-inspired saboteurs. Emmy tells Jonathan the window is breathtaking, which is a lie, so he should be concerned if she also told him that he’s an interesting person, or that the sex was like this:

In fact, Emmy is getting a weird look on her face, like maybe she’s realizing this guy is kind of an aimless dope. Except I think we’re actually supposed to think she is worrying that this isn’t sustainable, and/or that she’ll get zapped to another time and place and have her heart broken. Or that the sex really was terrible, or she’s allergic to fur. We have to infer all this, though. This movie, which wants to paint its characters in such broad strokes that it actually uses a roller, suddenly decided to be subtle. Lesson No. 25: Movie, Know Thyself.

I mean:

James Spader and Lt. Provenza extracted themselves from vehicular peril and are now just taking every mannequin they can find out of the Prince & Company windows, which leads to James nuzzling his face into this woman’s rump meridian. This is absurd because Provenza has encountered this mannequin about a hundred times and they BOTH just spend an entire chase scene staring at the back of her head, and yet they’re STILL taking raven-haired dummies and ones with straight blunt bobs… also, in what transport do they think they can pack two dozen mannequins? Is the Millennium Falcon parked outside? Lesson No. 26: Come On.

So Emmy pops herself into a conveniently semi-Egyptian-themed window and freezes up, and gets dummynapped by Spaderenza (I apologize if the dummy community is upset that I’m using that word to describe them and their life’s work, but I don’t know another alternative, at least until a new movement arrives that suggests we should be swapping in “womannequin” and “personnequin” because obviously “mannequin” is a deeply patriarchal stab wound to the gut). I have questions. Why is there a random semi-Egyptian-themed window here? Who was in charge of this? Doesn’t Jonathan handle all the windows? Why do they act like there is only one? Why is there a girl in totally modern clothing slumped exhaustedly against the wall like she’s spent all day doing the accounting for a dude who excavated the tomb?

Wait, I may have just answered that one myself. But if Hollywood Montrose is coming up with ideas like “exhausted women who’ve been exploring the pyramids and doing math,” then I can see why nobody was shopping at this store for such a long time. Lesson No. 27: When You’re Making A Movie, It’s Fine To Not Care About Things Like Details, Because Whatever, It’s A Movie. Incidentally, that is also a lesson you can learn from Center Stage‘s director’s commentary, where the guy actually SAYS, of the final performance’s impossible costume and set changes, “Eh, it’s a film.”

Jonathan wakes up naked and alone on his fur bed, surrounded by Prince & Company shoppers who applaud him enthusiastically. Hollywood interrupts the fracas, and gives me this shot, which delights me because something about that man in the glasses reminds me of a younger, shorter version of my father in law, and I’ve decided to pretend that he took “business trips” to Philly that actually involved being an extra in Mannequin, without telling his family about his secret passion. Anyhoo, Hollywood informs Jonathan that all the womannequins in the store are gone, including his favorite. Whom Hollywood can identify because he has eyes, and has suddenly remembered how to use them.

Hollywood hips in his pink car — please note the license plate — and hightails it to Illustra with Jonathan, and he would be deeply angry if he knew that a woman in a hot-pink turtleneck was stealing all the focus in this shot.

Because you need to know that Hollywood’s car has a a wardrobe. Who Wore Cursive Better: Illustra, or Hollywood’s car? Seriously, that department store gets no natural light at all and has EIGHT THOUSAND WINDOWS with nothing in them but tinsel. This is what I keep expecting Forever 21 to morph into.

Jonathan confronts everyone about Emmy, and Roxie is so grossed out that he’s more passionate about a personnequin than he was about her, that she scurries off to destroy Emmy. After, of course, announcing that to be her plan. Can’t people who do evil just keep it to themselves? Not that I am rooting for a lot of private evil in the world, but seriously, if you’re Roxie, and you’re angry and skeeved out, why would you draw attention to your deeds? Lesson No. 28: If You Believe Your Ex To Be The Deepest Sort Of Wackjob, Skulk Out Of There In Silence To Shred His Girlfriendequin, Because It Will Work Better If He Is Not Chasing You.

Spoiler: He chases her. And everyone else chases him.

James Spader fastidiously smooths his hair as he runs. Lesson No. 29: James Spader Is Committed To His Art.

Lesson No. 30: Always Run On Floors, Not On Glass Display Cases.

Lesson No. 31: No Matter What Your Job Is, Always Know Where To Find The Industrial-Sized Trash Shredder.

Lesson No. 32: Always Know Where The Release Hole Is For Accumulated Trash And Then Don’t Stand Underneath It, Or Else Something Symbolic Will Happen To You.

Hollywood is shooting at the store cops and execs chasing after Jonathan (who is chasing after Roxie), and he’s fending them off with this stream while shouting things like, “Mine’s bigger than yours is!” Lesson No. 33: Never Run Afoul Of A Dangerously Friendly And Supportive Gay Person Holding A Fire Hose.

Lesson No. 34: If You Anticipate Rescuing Someone From The Blades Of A Shredder, Don’t Wear Bowling Shoes, Because Those Suckers Don’t Give You Any Grip And It’s Going To Take You Twice As Long.

Emmy, of course, turns human in the middle of the rescue, which promises to make this a much bloodier mistake if his sensitive artist hands let go.

Also, the little dude in the background here sat there and watched Jonathan for a long time before he ran over to hit the off button (which appears to have been in full view), because I guess when he thought Jonathan was struggling to save an inanimate object he just didn’t care. Lesson No. 35: Between This And Toy Story, Let’s Just Assume Inanimate Objects Have Feelings.

Emmy realizes she’s alive and also visible to others now, so she assumes the gods have granted her permission to stay with her One True Love, although exciting window displays are going to get much harder without a mysteriously pliable mannequin in his arsenal, and then the job might dry up and with it the money, and then he’ll have to go back to failing at other jobs and refusing to sell his grand piano to pay for dinner. So Emmy might want to slow things down a tad.

However, this guy decides he might score a flesh and blood ladyquin also, and indeed, unearths Roxie from the debris. He kisses her and she screams and shoves him away. But don’t worry — his degradation is not complete; at the end of the movie he shrugs and dives into the pile again to see what his luck might bring.

Hollywood has the perfect reaction to seeing Emmy alive.

And Estelle Getty has Spaderenza on tape, thanks to her new security system (she had fired Provenza for being a moron earlier in the movie, which I forgot about because OBVIOUSLY), and slaps everyone with all kinds of lawsuits. Jonathan sidles over to her and asks how MUCH she got on tape, and she winks, “I saw everything I needed to see.” Translation: His junk. Lesson No. 36: The Demise of VHS Technology Has Deprived Society Of Effective, Harmless Items To Wave Threateningly At Other People.

And so Emmy and Jonathan become the subject of their own window, and in many ways, the world’s first reality show. Everyone is there to see Hollywood marry them with whatever power is vested in him — presumably awesomeness is not enough of a qualification, and he couldn’t have been Internet certified, but maybe the Egyptian overlords decided to infuse him with a little something official — and Estelle Getty brings a date and wears a hat.

And while Hollywood looks like an Elvis impersonator with better eyewear, Emmy, the Kate Middleton of her time, wears a touching half-smile/half-grimace in what becomes the last shot of the movie — the freeze-frame over which the credits roll –leaving us with nothing else but to wonder how soon she regretted this decision. Which brings us to the final lessons of the day: Lesson No. 37: The Only Thing I Miss More Than End-Of-Show Freeze Frames Are When Movies Shot Little Extra Bits That Ran During The Credits To Show You How It All Worked Out, Like At The End of Legal Eagles; and Lesson No. 38: “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship is a freaking spectacular song; and Lesson No. 39: That Trash Compactor Guy Was Right — You Really Should Grope Mannequins Casually Just In Case They Turn Out To Be A Very Hot, Trapped Person Desperate For Human Contact.

And finally, Lesson No. 40: Don’t Shop At Illustra.

Fuggery: 10 out of 10. Even for ’80s movies, some of this stuff gave me the shivers. Roxie’s businesswear hurt my feelings. Also:

Separately, if I am ever blessed with a daughter, I probably have to name her Illustra. Sorry in advance. To everyone.

Fromage: 10 out of 10 for James Spader’s performance alone, which I didn’t capture too much because it shines the most when it unfolds in motion.

F*ckwittery: 10 out of 10 again, for all the aforementioned things I bleated about re: Hollywood, mannequin positions, and poorly invented logic. As a Fug National pointed out on Twitter, what happens if someone catches them having sex and she turns back into a mannequin? Does he… get stuck? Ponder THAT.

Overall: 10 out of 10. One of the finest cheesy movies ever that also defines “guilty pleasure,” because odds are, if you admit to watching this, one of two things will happen: You will get a horrified/confused look from someone, or you will get a conspiratorial one followed by a whispered, “I secretly love that movie too.”

Leave a reply

Comments (120):

  1. Eirwen

    Lovely stuff! Manny Quinn- snort! Can we have a monthly ’80′s movie Fug Fest? I loved Mystic Pizza back in the day but do remember some heinous fashion choices from that movie too…

    • casey

      Oh, Mystic Pizza…such fond memories. What was it about that time period that made us love stories where all the people with money were unmitigatedly terrible, and why did the poor-but-scrappy women love these weak-but-rich men? Ahhh, youth.

  2. qwertygirl

    I think I saw about half of this movie when it first came out. I like your version much better. I know you say these things take an eternity to write (one can see why), but a series of FTF of hideously bad 80s movies would be epicly awesome. Just sayin’. Thanks for a good laugh to start the day!

    • Jules

      FTF for Night of the Comet would be epic.

      • qwertygirl

        It would! Also “She’s Out of Control” and “For Keeps.”

        • Claire1

          “SHE’S Out Of Control!!!”

          Night Of the Comet turned me off of zombies forever…..Seriously! I just can’t get into the whole zombie thing…that move, bad as it was, freaked me out…how fabulous is that?

        • Sajorina

          OMG, qwertygirl, I love “For Keeps”!!! I’ve probably seen it a dozen times! Randall Batinkoff was a dreamboat!

      • Tracy Walker

        ohmigod, I love that movie. Getting trapped in a closed mall has been on my bucket list ever since!

        • qwertygirl

          I haven’t seen Night of the Comet since it came out. I’m thinking I need to go over to Netflix and update the ol’ queue to rescreen a few oldies but goodies…

  3. junaitatres

    First, this was awesome. Please do more of these! Secondly, this reminded me of Today’s Special, the Nickelodeon show from the 80′s, where Jeff the Mannequin came to life when the store closed. Apparently mannequins were all the rage in the 80′s.

    • Tiffany

      Holy cow, I forgot about Today’s Special!

    • tangocharlie

      This movie and that show are why I am still afraid of mannequins. I had to dress them at a retail job and they seriously creeped me out, particularly the very lifelike ones!

      • Em

        hahahaha, I learned how to tie my shoes from an episode of Today’s Special!

  4. Stefanie

    “You just can’t upset Rex like that. He has anxiety.” GOLD. PURE GOLD.

    Holy crap. I havent thought about this movie in YEARS. How is it possible that Kim Cattrall looks exactly the same?

  5. avidbeader

    Camel-dung dealer. He was a camel-dung dealer.

    And thanks so much for this. I, too, broke a VHS tape after repeated watchings way back when.

    • Heather

      Right you are — why did I want to type “cattle”? Regardless: fixed!

    • Sabrina

      When my copy wore out it just freeze framed on the scene with Hollywood covering his car.

  6. casey

    GFY Heather, I have to add my thanks, this was wonderful. FTF is one of my favorite features on the site, and I love all of them! This is one of two of my daily-visit websites for which I turn off my adblocker, just because even though I’m not certain how it all the ad stuff works, I want to make sure you guys keep getting ad revenue so you can keep doing this fine and important work.

    • Heather

      Aw, that is incredibly supportive of you — I can’t tell you how lovely that is. Fug Nation is sincerely the best, and so are you.

    • deee

      Casey !! That is an excellent idea.

  7. Dee

    1. I used to work in the Wanamaker Building in Philly, in an office above the Macy’s. And it’s a pretty shitty Macy’s, with old, dingy carpets and fixtures, and a pretty sub-par merchandise selection (the Macy’s across the river in Cherry Hill, NJ has a WAY better selection, which is weird). The ceiling, architecture, and pipe organ are all still there, though. And it’s pretty.

    2. You ladies need to start Fugging the Fromage of EVERY 80′s ROMANTIC COMEDY EVER. I suggest that the next one you do is “Just One of the Guys.”

  8. jas

    This was the best thing ever. EVER

  9. Roser

    Yes! Monthly ’80s movie fuggery! Heather, you are in the zone today – laughed so hard it hurt. Thank you.

  10. Katty McNiley Ripley

    Love Mannequin, but c’mon: this movie was dated way before it premiered…

  11. Sam

    I loved this movie as a kid – I think it deserves a re-watch :)

    Also, the store they used for Illustra is about 10 minutes away from my house.

    • Heather


      I can’t believe I didn’t look that up.

    •  Coleen

      Is it Boscov’s? I remember when Boscov’s bought out Bamberger’s or whatever department store it was that used to be at the nearest mall, and back in the 80s the interior looked *exactly* like Illustra, so naturally grade-school me never wanted to shop there, ever ever. (I’m serious.)

      Also, you need to come to Philly and see the Macy’s Light Show at Christmas. It’s truly a wonder, and would have made “Mannequin” even more of a classic if somehow they could have managed to include it in the fromage montage.

  12. deee

    I am snickering like a 12 year old boy about the “zap your junk” life lesson. Then I felt bad for all the ladies and tried to think of an appropriate female version of the lesson. Perhaps “zap your hoo ha”?

  13. christine christine

    Monthly 80′s Movie Fug Fest! I’m in.

  14. Andrew S.

    All the blessings to Hollywood. We don’t have enough portrayals of gay men of color and I’m glad that, despite everything thrown at him, he still was dignified and shown in his own light.

    • Tiffany

      As a kid, I LOVED him. Like, I really wanted to be his friend. He seemed so joyful.

    • NumberSix

      Hollywood was my favorite when I was a kid based solely on his glasses. I had a pair eerily similar to one of his that I for some reason remember procuring at my local Pizza Hut for reasons that escape me. They were asymmetrical neon orange and yellow and I loved them.

      • Kristin

        Hollywood was the only character who was back for the 1991 sequel, starring Kristy Swanson. I hope Mesach Taylor got a raise.

  15. ErinE

    “Shouldn’t he be getting counseling for the fact that all he wants to do is stroke the face of a plastic woman? Perhaps he should call Spencer Pratt about that.” ZING! love it

  16. Jules

    I have been reading this site forEVER, and yet this post made me laugh harder than anything in a long time. My coworker and I were reading it simultaneously and hearing her cackle made me laugh even harder.

    Also, I live in Philly and that Macy’s IS pretty spectacular-the first floor, which is the first overhead shot featured here, is where the shoe section is. And it is glorious.

  17. HelenBackAgain

    Oh, I LAUGHED… love the “Lesson” parts. And everything about Hollywood!

    Wonderfully done. Applause! Brava!

  18. Elizabeth E.

    Yay, yay, and yay. Fug the Fromage always gets my vote. And I’m in for the 80s viewings. “Valley Girl” perhaps?

  19. Brenna


    Ok, caps lock excitement done….now I’ll go back and actually read the whole thing and try not to bust out laughing at my desk.

  20. Chrisa Hickey

    I pray to the fromage movie gods that you review Maid To Order starry Ally Sheedy next!

  21. Breda

    This is SPECTACULAR. Excellent, excellent work, Heather. I kept having to stifle my giggles because while I was reading it at lunch, I was still technically at my desk.

  22. Lucasta


  23. fritanga

    I had to stop at the screencap of Spader because he reminded me so much of MM’s Ted Chaough it was freaking me out (I get the same feeling when I see the Keno Brothers on Antiques Roadshow)..

    While skimming through the images, though, I did find it amusing to see Anthony from Designing Women looking like a fey Clarence Clemons (look them all up, kids).

    • Gigi

      Yes! Anthony!! Gurrrrrrl.

    • Lucasta

      I have always gotten an Early Judge Reinhold vibe off of Ted Chaough (like, put that man in a pirate’s hat and see what happens), but now you mention it I see Spader too!

  24. Mouse

    Random details they never think about:

    How do they get married – I mean, how can they get a marriage license when she has no government ID and didn’t legitimately exist until, basically, six weeks ago!? Is there a whole subplot of them finding a deceased woman and taking over her identity? ‘Cause – ew.

    Also – what job would she get? Or does he now support her with his job as a window dresser for a department store?

    (Yes – I can accept plastic turning into human and having all of her bodily functions and organs complete and useable but…this, this I cannot accept.) :)

    • Jenz

      When this is put in another context, no wonder Roxie and her bad wardrobe left him… he’s a guy who can’t hold a job but has money, (typical red flag for drug dealing) and suffers from a sexual psychological disorder (object sexuality). I would run far, far away from this guy….

    •  Aspasia

      Shhhh…..don’t ask questions of logic. Just let the cheese wash over you.

  25. Other Emily

    I do still have a deep and abiding love for James Spader. Andie might have though he was shit, but I sure didn’t. Gorgeous with that fluffy hair and the sex eyes. GORGEOUS. I like that he got to play against type in this one.

    • Claire1

      Me too!
      I still love him.
      I squealed when I saw he has a new show coming out….and when it shows him taking off his coat and putting down his suitcase and getting on his knees my husband said, to the dogs ( luckily the kid was in bed) “Mama needs to be alone, now”.
      He is #1 on my “list”….. Nathan Fillion is #2 and that’s it.

  26. Mindy

    Thanks for this! If not for Mannequin, Dirty Dancing, Super Mario Bros. and Fruity Pebbles, my ’80s slumber parties would have been utter failures.

  27. Susan

    I loved this movie as a kid! The Illustra interior was a Boscov’s at a mall outside of Harrisburg, PA, where I grew up. As far as I know, it’s still there, but I can only assume they’ve updated the interior at some point in the last 25-30 years.

    •  Coleen

      I KNEW IT WAS BOSCOV’S! The interior has been updated… but not by much.

  28. Ade

    This was hilarious. Thank you!

    Also, that newspaper article text was popular. My brother pointed out it was also in Back to the Future, and a quick Google search claims the article text also appeared in an episode of Twin Peaks.

    • Heather

      That is amazing.

      • NumberSix

        Now I want to search through 80s movies for that text. My favorite part is the last full sentence:

        “Of no less importance was the common recognition shown of the fact that any menace from without to the peace of our continents concerns all of us and therefore properly is a subject for consultation and cooperation.”

        It’s like The New Yorker Mad Libs.

        Since the other poster mentioned ad blockers, I have to point out that the ad I had while reading this very post was for American Apparel: a model wearing high-waisted, mint-green metallic leggings with faux back pockets, with block text above that reads simply “PANTS!”

        I’d like to think Heather and Jessica had something to do with that.

  29. strah

    I saw this in the theater with my mom when I was a pre-teen. I remember being confused about the opening credit cartoon even then.
    This was an absolutely gorgeous FTF, a joy to read.

  30. kfletch

    Can’t believe they half-assed the text on that newspaper prop when they whole-assed the header and photo. If you’re going to just make stuff up at least put in lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit so all the graphics people can give each other high-fives.

    Also: “…because he can count to three and he knows he’s stumbled on a bucket-list situation.” Yes! That Ken doll is acting the hell out of that scene.

  31. attica

    In the 80s, I went and paid for 3 movies per weekend. I saw everything. But I did not see this. On purpose. I’ve avoided it on tv ever since, also. Just can’t bring myself. (Even though one of my roommates was besties with McCarthy’s sister!) So now I can say I’ve seen it, in the best possible way — fugged all the way through.

    Thank you, Heather. You work wonders here. ::snif!::

  32. Claire1

    That made me so happy.
    only movie EVER ( including the episode in Boston Legal when he was in costume , or Crash) that I did not find James Spader attractive…..which only proves to me how completely fabulous he is.

  33. Jamie

    Okay, I had to skip to the comments here because did anybody else notice that Emmy is flipping people off with what is clearly a LEFT HAND attached to her RIGHT ARM? They didn’t have any bird-flipping right hands?

  34. Lori

    One question I always had: Just what WAS on those video tapes? Did they show her as human? Because if so, there’s no way she doesn’t end up famous and/or being dissected.

  35. A.J.

    I loved this movie as a pre-teen! Hollywood was my favorite character, because as you said, he was so nice! He’s definitely the “super-supportive of your crazy” best friend character. As an adult I went back and watched it and was horrified by how he’s portrayed/people react to him.

    Ooh, can I suggest as someone said above, “Just One of the Guys” as a future Fug the Fromage? Or “Boyfriend School/Don’t Tell Her It’s Me?” Oh, or for 90s Fug, “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.”

  36. Goldfish 

    Coke or Pepsi?
    Coffee or Tea?
    VHS or Betamax?
    Mannequin or Xanadu?

  37. crookedE

    You should seriously win a Pulitzer for this.

  38. Jenz

    OHMYGOD…. this is one of the most hilarious and most well-written movie review/recap I have ever read. I’m at work, alone in my office.. and giggling like a mad freak!! Well done!!! I also keep thinking about that show with people who are in love with inanimate objects… is this movie why….???

  39.  moiraeknittoo

    >Art Brush who is friends with Music Jones and Books Shields and Math Johnson

    I sincerely hope Math Johnson knows what eight inches really looks like. And nothing comes between Books Shields’ pages (not even a bookmark).

  40. Anissa

    I may be in the minority, but I always thought the sequel was much better. I mean medieval maiden turned into wood and awoken from her slumber by a store clerk before the skivy descendent of her enchanter can awaken her himself. Plus Hollywood was back and this time he’s in on the secret!!

    • Anne

      I have very vague memories of watching that as a kid, but reading this I do have the feeling that the second movie was better. :)

  41. carrie

    Illustra was actually Boscov’s in Camp Hill, PA. Even the exterior shots are the store. I don’t remember them filming there when I was growing up; but I did recognized the mirrored ceiling, staircase, and neon when I watched the film!

  42. HKS

    I audibly gasped at my desk when I saw you did a FTF for Mannequin. I looooove this movie, and saw it in the theater, and have seen it maybe 15 times since then. I second (third, eight?) everyone above who said you should FTF all the awesome 80s movies. I nominate Girls Just Wanna Have Fun because: SJP! Dance compeitions (and dance outfits!); Helen Hunt wears the best clothes including a cricket hat! Brenda is 12! And…so so much more. While you contemplate your FTF nominations, I am going re-read this one. So freaking hilarious. Thank you for it.

    • Tiffany

      YES!!!! Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!!!!!!

      I mean, Helen Hunt takes a school girl skirt and has a hidden leather skirt on the back! Fashion revolutionary!

      Slow, slow…quick, quick, slow. ;)

  43. Sarah

    You’ve done a public service by taking the teachings of Mannequin and bringing them to us…my god.

  44. jenelope

    My vote for next 80s FtF: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I mean, Helen Hunt’s grasshopper hat alone…

  45. Tiffany

    As a kid I thought Kim looked so fun and nice and cute, and Andrew McCarthy was the PERFECT nice boy! I loved this movie! Wonderful post!

  46. lali

    I super love this! I was either laughing or smiling the entire time and now my face hurts. SO WORTH IT.

  47. sarah

    this just REALLY made my day. thank you! (and yes – there is sooo much fug and fromage in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. That would be a hilarious FTF)

  48. H.C.

    Hopefully this is the beginning of a retro FTF series; may I put in a bid for “Troop Beverly Hills?”

    (and great, now I can’t get the Cookie Time song out of my head)

    • NumberSix

      Yes! Troop Beverly Hills BEGS for a FTF. I also love that movie completely unironically. I mean, shallow, shopping-obsessed Shelley Long shows Young Carla Gugino that you can’t make your parents pay attention to you, but you can have good friends that help you send that Evil Velda Plendor straight to the K-Mart (and that if you hang with her daughter, you will eventually be eating your Wilderness Girl cookies in the front row at a Rilo Kiley concert).

  49. arigato

    Thanks so much for Fugging this fromage! My best friend in high school made me go see this movie twice because she was in love with Andrew McCarthy. But then, I made her see All the Right Moves, so… obviously, our friendship did not last. When I saw Mannequin originally, I thought it was ridiculous, but Heather’s comments take it right into the sublime.

  50. Anita

    “Meeting her is so exciting that fire starts shooting out of Jonathan’s switcher.” I laughed so hard when I read this that my chewing gum shot out of my mouth and stuck to my computer monitor.

  51. Sajorina

    OMG, this ‘Fug The Fromage’ is GENIUS! I just lost it when I read this:

    “His name is Hollywood Montrose, and he dresses like he just skipped off the set of a children’s television program on which he plays an adult five-year old named Art Brush who is friends with Music Jones and Books Shields and Math Johnson and they team up to use their special skills to solve problems like how to share crayons, or why mommy cries.”

    Ahahahahahahaha!!! I remember seeing this movie when I was about 9 and loving Hollywood Montrose and thinking that Andrew McCarthy was dreamy! Plus, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship was played repeatedly at my house because my older brother was a DJ in High School and had the 45! Now I feel old!

  52. Lee-Lee

    Heather, I bow down to you. We are not worthy, I can only stand (sit, actually) in awe of the amount of work/time that went into this. It must take forever and the attention to detail is sublime. Loved every word, thank you.

  53. Karen

    I think this may be the best Fug the Fromage ever. Seriously. I learned a lot of lessons.

    I will admit I do love this movie, and watch it whenever it comes on TV. But, when people come to my house and look at my DVD collection, and they see the 1937 Joan Crawford film “Mannequin,” and they think I own the DVD of this one, I feel shame and horror.

  54. Gretchen

    Everything about this is fantastic. And you listened to the director’s commentary on Center Stage! Perfect.

    If it hasn’t been mentioned, the Sarah Jessica Parker/Helen Hunt masterpiece Girls Just Want to Have Fun should totally get this treatment- so much fashion and epic eyebrow acting.

  55. Dirk

    I haven’t read this yet but GOD BLESS YOU for fugging this cinematic masterpiece/film that i unironically love. I don’t care what anyone says, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now is the best song that ever came out of the 80′s.

    Plus, let’s fug Lifetime’s Anna Nicole. :P

  56. Heather G

    GFY Heather, GREAT JOB! This is one of my favorite things you’ve ever written here, and I’ve been a satisfied Fug National for many years now. I am cry-laughing!!! Who knew how many pearls of wisdom Mannequin had to teach us all?

    And now I will be singing myself to sleep with “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”…

  57. Mimi

    Hollywood’s car is LEGIT

  58. Jen

    you’re going to keep going with the sequels, right? Hollywood’s “the needed a few good men and so did I” obviously being the best line of dialogue ever committed to film…

  59. HelenBackAgain

    Hollywood is the best character.


  60. Lynn

    Wow. That was so well-done. Funny and thoughtful. My last snort was saved for your mention of Legal Eagles. I was obsessed with that movie. Thanks for the fun.

  61. Squirrel!

    This was exquisite in so many ways! Thank you.

    But inquiring minds want to know what happened to Lesson #1 (I’m old enough to use a pound sign as a number symbol). Was it deleted after the fact?

  62. SherriS.

    PLEASE please please do “No Small Affair”–Demi Moore “singing”! Jon Cryer! Madonna’s hand-me-downs! It has it all…1984 also saw Demi in “Blame It on Rio” (why, Michael Caine, WHY?).

  63. brian

    Mannequin was my first and only date with a girl, Tami Jones, in seventh grade. We stood up in the theater and danced during the montage. We were the only people in the theater. Conway, Arkansas was not ready for Mannequin.
    Hollywood inspires me to this day. The only reason I ever wanted a car was to have a car cozy with my name on it.
    You’re wrong about one thing. That black and white outfit in the window is the best thing in the movie and I would wear that hat everyday.

  64.  LibraryChick

    I only just realized the video for Aerosmith’s Love in an Elevator made fun of this movie Mannequin… at least the sex with mannequins part.

    The fake wedding between Rose and Manfred E. Quinn on Two and a Half Men is the only other human/mannequin union I have seen. This one definitely had more fug, though it cracked me up how the other attending mannequins in the church pews were dressed for the event.

  65. File Host

    This is one of those websites I love as it lets me notice it on my nexus 7 operating system tablet.

  66. NeeS

    I kept thinking of Lars and The Real Girl while reading you hilarious FTF. Same topic, basically, but more honest.

  67. JohnAvs

    This was absolutely amazing…extremely well written and I’m inspired to write one myself. I’ve re-read this about three times now and it keeps getting better.

  68. Mavis

    Pure brilliance. I haven’t laughed this hard at a Fug post since Jessica’s “Well Played Olympian Abs”. Thank you, Heather!

    My FTF 80s nomination is “Can’t Buy Me Love”. When Patrick Dempsey resurfaced with the popularity of “Grey’s Anatomy”, I kept hoping TWoP would recap it as a Mondo Extra. Fashion plays a pivotal role in this film’s plot so it’s an even better fit for GFY.

  69. Stephanie

    This was one of your best posts ever. *Whispers* I secretly love this movie, too. The ending credits song has a permanent place on my mp3 player, I love it so much. Cheesiness abounds.

    The outfits, the ridiculousness, the actors, I love it all. Hollywood IS the best character, hands down. Kim Cattrall, despite the crazy hair and clothes, was gorgeous.

    You had me snorting with laughter, and that’s a bit dangerous because I’m at work. I had to fake a few coughing fits. Ah, this made my Thursday.