Earth Girls are Easy

WFTB Score: 5/20

The plot: Troubled California manicurist Valerie has her swimming pool invaded by a trio of furry aliens. Mack, the leader of these, takes Valerie’s eye, forcing her to decide between him and her intended husband, dodgy doctor Ted. The other aliens, meanwhile, cause havoc of their own.

‘Plastic’ is the word that instantly comes to mind when trying to describe Earth Girls are Easy, and not just because the film’s first shot is of a very cheap spaceship that looks more like a toy than anything a life-form could reasonably travel in. The whole film is wrapped in a sheen of primary-colours 80s artificiality, which makes it a distracting experience at this distance of time.

Anway, Geena Davis is Valerie, one of the Earth girls of the title, a manicurist so desperate for love/sex (the film doesn’t make much of a distinction between the two) that she is willing to overlook the obvious philandering of her fiancé, arrogant doctor Ted (Charles Rocket), and blames herself for his not wanting to have sex with her.

Spying on Valerie from a distance are three hirsute humanoids, who crash-land in her swimming pool and, whilst waiting for the pool to drain, get tidied up with the help of Valerie’s friend Candy (Julie Brown, also one of the film’s writers). The discovery that the colourful aliens are, underneath, three quite cute guys – Mack (Jeff Goldblum), Wiploc (Jim Carrey) and Zebo (Damon Wayans) – causes quite a stir, not least within Valerie.

Earth Girls are Easy aims to be a bright, frothy, slightly naughty comedy in a similar vein to Splash!, but is hampered by a massive lack of confidence in its own material. The first part of the film contains a number of overproduced songs which set it up as a musical, but the film steers away from this direction as it gives way to the love interest between Valerie and Mack, the musical idea only making a brief return for Candy’s ’Cause I’m a Blond.

Instead of songs, the film fills the time with items such as Zebo taking part in a protracted dance contest, then Zebo and Wiploc being taken for robbers when pool-drainer Woody (Michael McKean, in annoying surfer-dude mode) tries to take them to the beach. During this time, Mack and Valerie fall for each other, but she vacillates between the exotic new stranger and Ted.

I suspect nervous producers had a hand in cutting out some of Julie Brown’s songs and putting in more comedy; the problem is that the film struggles for laughs throughout, not helped by the fact that the characters are incredibly shallow. We never really get a handle on who the aliens are or where they are from, and neither Carrey nor Wayans, both in very early roles, can do much with the broad fish-out-of-water material they’re given.

The humans are all fine examples of Californian vacuity, so it is hard to either believe in them or care how they turn out: Davis is the best of the bunch, but it is hard to see what she could possibly see in the loathsome Ted, or why she would even consider giving him a second chance. There are flashes of invention – after Valerie and Mack make love, there is a disturbing dream sequence in which Davis imagines her neighbourhood populated by sci-fi monsters and robots (a nod to The Fly?) – and there are a few gems in the dialogue, such as: ‘Finland is the capital of Denmark’ or, Mack after being cleaned up at the hairdressers: ‘Valerie – are we limp and hard to manage?’ But all in all, the film is too wilfully stupid to raise many laughs.

Not a musical, not a great love story, certainly not a science fiction film and not much of a comedy adventure either, Earth Girls are Easy is not as much fun as it could easily have been. It has its incidental pleasures, but fans of any of the above genres would do well to go in search of the real thing.


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