Seeing Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum together in Transylvania 6-5000 got me thinking about Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), which I hadn’t seen since my old video rental days. Luckily the female members of my family have a collective crush on Goldblum, so it wasn’t too tricky to track down a DVD copy (though sadly the “special edition” wasn’t released in this country… just a vanilla, cropped-for-TV version).
For those who don’t know, Earth Girls is a musical comedy, inspired by the songs of co-writer/co-star Julie Brown, which tells the tale of a ditsy “valley girl” manicurist named ‘Valerie’ (Davis), who kicks her cheating fiancé to the curb, shortly before a trio of furry, primary-coloured aliens crash land in her swimming pool. They seem harmless enough (if a little horny), so she sneaks them into the beauty salon where she works with her friend ‘Candy’ (Brown), who shaves off all the fuzz to reveal three hunky, man-shaped idiots underneath. Impressed, the lascivious young ladies opt to party with their extraterrestrial boy-toys, until their spaceship can be repaired and readied for takeoff. Tubular!
The garish neon Eighties-ness of it all was a bit jarring at first, but once I adjusted my eyes to the glare, I actually found plenty here to enjoy. Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans get a lot of mileage out of mucking about with random objects like a pair of overgrown, inquisitive toddlers… and Goldblum looks incredibly dashing as their more level-headed leader, who has to let his soulful eyes do all the talking, because the only words he knows in English are random sound-bites he’s picked up from TV. Meanwhile, Davis looks mighty pretty, and gets a lot of good comic business to work with, as she goes from attempting to re-spark the passion in her doomed relationship, to shepherding her unruly new wards around… and Brown steals several scenes for herself, with her sassy dialogue and fancy production numbers. Apparently the standout “‘Cause I’m a Blonde” sequence was added in reshoots, which probably explains why it’s a bit of a non-sequitur, story-wise… but it’s also the one scene I had the strongest memory of after all these years, so I’d say it earns its spot (although I’d love to see the original scenes they had to cut out sometime). Oh, and Michael McKean has an amusing cameo as an ageing surf bum Valerie calls to drain her pool… at first I didn’t understand why she was so insistent that ‘Woody’ come to do the job, but when he turned up looking stoned out of his gourd and placidly accepted the cover story she fed him, it all made sense.
I was a little surprised to discover that the movie was directed by Julien Temple (just a year or so before he co-created a daughter named Juno), because I’d always thought of him as more of a serious documentarian… but apparently he was already a well known music video director by that point, and it’s easy to see how his experience informed the style of this movie. One of my favourite scenes finds Davis singing a sappy ballad (“The Ground You Walk On“), while stalking around the house in lingerie gleefully destroying all of her absent fella’s personal possessions… it’s a masterfully choreographed piece of eye-candy, and very funny to boot! Not sure who should get the credit for this, but I also really loved the trippy rainbow-blur effect they used to signify the aliens’ “love touch” power, which sent any person/creature it was aimed at into a fit of writhing ecstasy! On the soundtrack side of things, I imagine this was my first exposure to the music of the B-52’s… and it’s great to hear them used so prominently, since they’re such a perfect fit for this weird and wonderful movie.
Now, I wonder if there’s a market out there for a sequel? Earth Girls Are Easy 2: Jhazzalan Needs Women!