Picks and Pans Review: Earth Girls Are Easy
05/29/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT
Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum
Great, wacky-sexy title. Attractive, amiable cast, with Davis, Goldblum and pop singer-satirist Julie Brown. Promising concept, with three space creatures—very humanoid, very male, very horny—crash-landing in the swimming pool of a gorgeous woman who has just thrown her philandering boyfriend out of the house.
So why is this movie about as much fun as a bowl of cold Spaghetti-O's?
The answer seems to be that in coming up with the title, the cast and the concept, director Julien Temple and his three writers (Brown, Terrence E. McNally and Charlie Coffey) seem to have used up seven or eight years' worth of imagination, leaving none for script or plot.
As the earth woman, Davis is tall, ditzy and huge-eyed, with flounce to spare. As one of the aliens (they quickly get transformed into average-looking types), Goldblum is steady, sober and a model of logic. Yes, indeed, real-life husband and wife Davis and Goldblum seem to be perfecting their imitation of Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin when they were young newlywed actors. And they're likable. So is Brown, as Davis's colleague at the Curl Up & Dye beauty shop.
Their lines and scenes, however, are almost impossibly mundane. When she first sees the space creatures, Davis has to say, "As if things weren't bad enough, now I've been abducted by aliens." That's it. End of scene. Then when she goes to feed her visitors, Davis looks in the refrigerator, finds it mostly empty and does her best with the punch line, "Not much here, but I didn't expect to be having aliens for lunch." Goldblum's luck is no better. His spaceship is miniaturized, so he and his crew have to expand in size every time they leave it, but this peculiar trait is never referred to, let alone turned into a joke.
Even when they try to be funny, Temple and his writers often end up creating only a reminder of another movie. There's the spacemen's unfamiliarity with sex (My Stepmother Is an Alien), their oversize penises (Young Frankenstein), their fascination with TV (Splash) and commercials (Flight of the Navigator), their slapstick clumsiness (the entire Three Stooges oeuvre).
Brown has perhaps the film's best line: When the still-furry aliens show up in the beauty shop, she examines their coats and says, "I see split ends are universal." Her version of her semi-hit song "I Like 'Em Big and Stupid" is fun too, though it looks less like a movie scene than a music video. No surprise there, since Temple, while he has directed such films as The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, is still best known for his rock videos. Turning out this movie certainly seems to have tested his attention span, and it will do the same to anyone who tries to watch it. (PG)