The Scoop: 1991 PG, directed by Stewart Raffill and starring Kristy Swanson, William Ragsdale and Meshach Taylor
Tagline: A lively comedy about a living doll.
Summary Capsule: If you thought there wasn’t enough material for TWO films about mannequins… you were right.
Justin’s Rating: If only my G.I. Joes would come to life…
Justin’s Review: You know how your brain sometimes erases memories for you that cause you pain, in a type of self-protection mechanism? And then how that has a downside, because you don’t remember what hurt you in the first place and end up stumbling right into the same old trap down the road? Yeah, there was a reason I didn’t rush from reviewing Mannequin to Mannequin Two: On The Move and it wasn’t just out of fear of being put on the front page of USA Today as “The Only Man To Have Rented These Movies, Ever!”
No, it was the pain caused by a character I had blocked from my memory, only to find it rushing back in even greater agony as I viewed the sequel to that great celluloid tribute to creepy human wood carvings. It was time for Justin to once again face… Hollywood.
That’s not Hollywood the institution or the town, but Hollywood the character played by Meshach Taylor, the only character to make the transition from crappy film to crappy sequel. And when that character happens to be just a shade more annoying than someone taking a belt sander to my face, it doesn’t spell great things for actual enjoyment. I’m pretty sure that the gay community has disbarred Hollywood from representing them, unless there’s a small subset that actually enjoys being portrayed as a screeching, bouncing clown-thing. From the minute he steps onto the screen wearing giant scissors as sunglasses, there’s no limit to the depths of overacting that he’s willing to plumb. In short, if I ever had a million dollars to throw away on a frivolous movie, it would definitely be Mannequin 3: Burn Hollywood Burn.
Even if the rest of the cast had jumped Hollywood with six rolls of duct tape by the end of the opening credits, this still would be an atrocious, embarrassing mess of a comedy. Comedies are supposed to make us laugh, yes? Starring real comedians? With real jokes? Yeah, none of that’s here. What you get, instead, is two hours of Grade A lame. What did you expect? I mean, if I told you I was going to make a movie about a toaster that’s brave… wait, bad example. If I told you I was going to make a movie about a hat rack, how much greatness would you expect from it? It’s as if the filmmakers deliberately set their standards so low to make it critic-proof; if some swaggering reviewer like myself dare impugn the movie, they’d cry out, “It was a film about a mannequin, what did you expect?” And then we’d all get shame-faced and have to eat a lot of ice cream together in silence.
Reverse-engineering a story from a girl-turned-mannequin is not as easy as you may think, but it’s definitely as stupid. Mannequin 2 trades the Egyptian curse of the first movie for a cursed European necklace in the second. Two lovebirds from what appears to be a medieval renaissance faire are separated when Jessie (Kirsty Swanson) is turned into the “Cursed Princess” and put on display in the country’s GAP. Flash-forwards a thousand years to a better era, an era where mankind has evolved so much that we’re now making romance comedies about girls who are also lifeless hunks of wood.
Jessie awakens to the touch of Jason (William Ragsdale), who she mistakens as her princely beau, and pledges her undying love and affection to. Jason, not one for looking a gift horse in the mouth, goes “okey dokey!” and starts grinning like a guy who just won the Playboy lottery. I guess it’s every guy’s greatest fantasy that inanimate objects will suddenly come to life and start macking on their face. Great if it’s a Barbie doll or something, not as great if it’s a curling iron or Celine Dion. Yes, I went there.
I shouldn’t have to tell you that the romance angle doesn’t really work, because this isn’t a movie about two people falling in love – it’s a movie about a woman who idolizes a man for no good reason, and the guy who takes advantage of that fact. Swanson looks typically cute in the role, but should have shot her manager for sticking her in a movie where she had to play a literal empty-headed blonde.
From then on it’s a lot of slapstick and plodding plot involving window dressings (again? AGAIN?) and Hollywood being super-duper-ultra-presto-effeminate and people generally looking and acting like they refuse to admit that the 80’s were over. Just to deliver a solid kick to your groin, in case you were starting to warm up to this weird mess, the ending features Hollywood doing a rap. For those children in our audience who associate “rap” with hardcore inner city thugs, I have to dispel that image when it comes to pre-1995 rap. Rap back then rhymed, but that’s about it. It was whiter than white bread, geekier than Urkel, and you could actually understand the words – and hated all life as you knew it when you did. Grownups thought it was the gateway to communicating to the teenage crowd, and therefore kept throwing in embarrassing raps into just about every form of entertainment. A Hollywood rap, therefore, is not a cause for toe-tapping aural delight, but to flee the room via any exit available, even the window if you gain enough momentum.
There are reasons why, as a worldwide society, we’ve blocked the early 90’s from our minds, and this would be one of them. Go back to your lives and forget this ever happened. Forget…
- “Mannequin On The Move” is the actual title of the film. “Mannequin Two: On The Move” was the poster title that stuck, but the “Mannequin Two” was only to let audiences know that it was a sequel.
- Hauptman-Koenig? Was Xago;ihqe;agadg as a country name taken?
Jason: You were in the marines?
Hollywood: Yes they were looking for a few good men and… so was I.
Mom: Oh my God, he’s in love with a… dummy.
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