Saturday, August 16, 2008

Earth Girls Are Easy (Julien Temple, 1989)

Overflowing with iridescent spunk and coated with a glossy veneer that reminded me of the tepid pools of candy-coloured indifference that used to congregate between my toes after a long night of egg banditry, Earth Girls Are Easy (a.k.a. Mein Liebhaber vom andern Stern) encapsulates everything an '80s movie should be: loud, intensely obnoxious, replete with gratuitous leg shots, and saturated with effervescent musical numbers that centre around makeovers and the many advantages to sporting a certain hair colour. The cinematic equivalent of receiving an unpremeditated bikini wax from a recently scorned mental patient, this loose-fitting garment of a film is a garish parable that sheds a huge amount of light on the rampant excess and unchecked consumerism of the new wave decade. However, in a brilliant touch, the film also manages to celebrate the decades' unique and oft-derided sense of style. Taking their cues from Valley Girl and Liquid Sky, director Julien Temple (The Filth and the Fury) and screenwriter Julie Brown (Shakes the Clown) team up to create one of the most visually arresting odes life in the Valley I've had the pleasure of sitting, and occasionally leaning, through. The empty-headed dialogue, the liberal use of colour, and the grandiosely-coiffed hairdos all mask an oceanic abyss of profundity. I mean, one could not help but notice the political subtext that permeated the film's gaudy pith. For example, the fact that the trio of aliens, when standing side by side, looked like the flag of Romania did not go unnoticed.

Looking strictly on the surface, Earth Girls Are Easy is actually not about people named Irina and Petru (common names in Romania), or their innate desire to surf tasty waves and pay taxes. Nope, it's actually about two beauty salon employees named Valerie (Geena Davis) and Candy (Julie Brown). You see, Valerie is sunbathing, in the skimpiest bathing suit this side of Van Nuys Blvd., when all of a sudden, a modestly-sized, yellow and red spaceship crashes in her pool.

The ship contains three fur-covered aliens named Mac, Wiploc and Zeebo, who befriend Valerie. And after employing Candy's mastery in the art of hair removal–you know, to like, make them less conspicuous 'n' stuff–the totally out there quintet jump headfirst into the seedy mire that is the Valley at night.

The performances in Earth Girls Are Easy range from awesome to freaking awesome. A leggy Geena Davis and a game Jeff Goldblum (Vibes) are perfectly acceptable as Valerie and Mac. Miss Davis shines thanks in part to her ridiculously taut physique, but she also gives it her all during a trippy dream sequence and lingerie-assisted musical number. Mr. Goldblum, on the other hand, looks like he's doing someone a favour, but he does get to play the piano while wearing a sequined jacket.

Even though she's basically a supporting character, the film belongs to the fabulous Julie Brown. Her presence is felt in every scene thanks to her bubbly personality and witty script, that include a bunch of entertaining song-and-dance numbers: the makeover themed "Brand New Girl" and the crowd pleaser "I'm a Blonde" being the two that stand out.

The future stars of the sketch comedy show, In Living Color, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayons, fight, what seemed like, a pitched battle with one another for laughs as Wicloc and Zeebo. I liked the way they were always clutching and grabbing stuff. Which reminds me, if I ever found myself lost in the Valley, I would be grabbing stuff, too (and not just barbeque lids and pantie shields). Anyway, Mr. Wayons excels while partaking in an energetic dance-off and drinking dish liquid. And Carrey, well, he gets to mouth kiss Julie Brown, so... fuck him. For the record, I would like to mouth kiss her.

Comedy vet Micheal McKean (Laverne & Shirley) is great as a grown-up version of Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Charles Rocket is wonderful as Ted (a.k.a. Dr. Love), the embodiment of yuppie scum; Angelyne is an expert when it comes to exiting a pink corvette as "Gas Girl"; and Stacey Travis (Hardware) captures the vacuous spirit of the legwarmer decade perfectly with her credit card earrings, shock-haired mop of teased blonde hair, and overall whore-like demeanour.


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