Cinophile: EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY

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Interstellar space must be a real drag when you are trying to maintain a good social life. This prompts three literally colourful, hairy aliens to crash on our fair planet in the Eighties, a time when Jeff Goldblum was at the height of his star power and Geena Davis had a body that could break a mirror a mile away. She can still do that at lesser distances, but the Davis of the Eighties was every definition of smoking and a reminder that the decade’s only real crime might have been big hair.

You get to see a lot of that in Earth Girls Are Easy, a quirky slapstick comedy that would not have worked had it not been for some then-unknown talent. The three aliens, who are actually tiny but possess size-changing technology, set about repairing their ship while Davis’ character, Valerie, picks up the pieces after discovering her husband’s cheating ways. Goldblum’s alien commander Mac and Valerie fall for each other in that clumsy way intergalactic romances/eighties romcoms always do.

If that was all there is to this movie, it deserved to remain a forgotten dud. But like Davis, who is a MENSA member and smarter than all of us combined, Earth Girls’ dumbing exterior hides a clever soul. It haphazardly dashes between ridiculous gags, strange musical moments and several really shrewd lines like: “I just want to say that being chosen as this month’s Miss August is like a compliment I’ll remember for as long as I can.”

But the real kicker are two co-stars still years away from their prime. While Davis and Goldblum are good and have nice energy, they aren’t exactly great comedians. Not good enough to carry a film like this, which explains why it flopped. Fortunately today we can look back and see a young Damon Wayans and Jim Carrey do their thing. Playing the two lesser aliens, their grasp on English is about as strong as their tolerance of reality and its rules. The result are several moments of slapstick genius as icebreakers between the main plotlines. It’s not all amazing, but anyone with hindsight would have given the pair more scenes.

That said, they already have plenty of moments to shine, including an accidental robbery-and-hijacking, and a dance-off for the ages.

In fact, a lot of credit can be given to the film’s lesser actors. Valerie’s best friend Candy always has the right thing to say and the pool-cleaning surfer shines in his few scenes.

Yes, this is a daft film and not the best slapstick out there. But it has an undeniable charm and wild spirit that has made Earth Girls Are Easy a cult hit over the years. Also, Geena Davis in a  bikini is well worth the price of admission… I try to keep this column gender neutral, but there is no escaping how incredibly hot she was in 1988. Jeff Goldblum was apparently a hottie too, but he’ll always be crazy maths guy to me.

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Earth Girls Are Easy has an interesting cast. It was the third film Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, who were married at the time, worked together on - following their previous hit The Fly. As such this was at the relative height of their careers and both featured prominently in the marketing materials. But the movie is carried by the then-unknown Damon Wayans and Jim Carrey. The two would continue to work together and in 1990 Carrey’s star got serious traction in the gag TV show In Living Colour, produced by Wayans. Madonna, Daryl Hannah and Molly Ringwald were offered the main role of Valerie.
Earth Girls Are Easy has an interesting cast. Madonna, Daryl Hannah and Molly Ringwald were offered the main role of Valerie before Geena Davis took it. It was the third film Jeff Goldblum and Davis, who were married at the time, worked together on – following their previous hit The Fly. As such this was at the relative height of their careers and both featured prominently in the marketing materials. But the movie is carried by the then-unknown Damon Wayans and Jim Carrey. The two would continue to work together and in 1990 Carrey’s star got serious traction in the gag TV show In Living Colour, produced by Wayans.
The movie found its origins in the song of the same name. It was written and performed by actor and comedian Julie Brown in 1984. She later adapted the concept and co-wrote the script for the movie. Brown also appears as Geena Davis’ friend, Candy. The movie featured ten songs in total, three of which were Brown’s. She performed two of them. The film also had inventive language: much of the alien banter by Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans were really just their lines spoken backwards.
The movie found its origins in the song of the same name. It was written and performed by actor and comedian Julie Brown in 1984. She later adapted the concept and co-wrote the script for the movie. Brown also appears as Geena Davis’ friend, Candy. The movie featured ten songs in total, three of which were Brown’s. She performed two of them. The film also had inventive language: much of the alien banter by Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans were really just their lines spoken backwards.
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Earth Girls Are Easy had a tough development period. It took years to finance and eventually got made because it shaved off nearly a third of its budget. Director Julien Temple, who is best known for the Sex Pistols documentary The Great Rock ‘n Roll Swindle, still went overboard and the movie spent several months in post-production to undergo tweaking. Despite positive reviews, it just barely made back its budget. In 2001 there was an attempt to create a stage play, but the project failed to attract enough investors.
Earth Girls Are Easy had a tough development period. It took years to finance and eventually got made because it shaved off nearly a third of its budget. Director Julien Temple, who is best known for the Sex Pistols documentary The Great Rock ‘n Roll Swindle, still went overboard and the movie spent several months in post-production to undergo tweaking. Despite positive reviews, it just barely made back its budget. In 2001 there was an attempt to create a stage play, but the project failed to attract enough investors.

Cinophile is a weekly feature showcasing films that are strange, brilliant, bizarre and explains why we love the movies.

Last Updated: January 12, 2015

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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