Jonathan Switcher portrayed by Andrew McCarthy (Weekend at Bernie’s) can’t seem to get a break. He has tried his best, but every job he gets, as shown to the viewer in a montage, he winds up being fired from in a relatively short amount of time. His love life is also not going well. After one too many firings and the fact that he drives a motorcycle instead of a car, his girlfriend Roxie (Carole Davis) leaves him. Despite the professional and personal setbacks, Jonathan keeps moving forward. He gets hired by the department store Prince & Company, it is there, where his luck will begin to change.
Prince & Company is owned by Claire Timkin, who is played by Emmy and Golden Globe winner Estelle Getty (The Golden Girls). She has recently taken over running the store from her deceased father. Prince & Company is losing a great deal of business to their department store competition, Illustra. The rival store is run by B.J. Wert (Steve Vinovich). He is a man who doesn’t like to lose. In fact, unbeknownst to Mrs. Timkin, he has placed Prince & Company’s store manager Mr. Richards on his payroll. The role of Richards is acted by three time Emmy winner James Spader (The Blacklist). Wert wants him to sabotage the store from the inside, so when Prince & Company is in financial peril, he can buy them out for a low price.
Richards and Wert are going to have to put their plans on hold, thanks to the most unlikely of sources. Emmy portrayed, by Golden Globe winner Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City), is no ordinary person. In fact, she’s not a person at all, she’s an immortal. One night, while working with his friend and co-worker Hollywood, played by Emmy nominee Meshach Taylor (Designing Women), Emmy reveals herself to Jonathan. When anyone else looks at her, they only see a mannequin. Once she starts to help Jonathan design window displays for Prince & Company, business for the store begins to boom. The store’s new found success doesn’t sit well with Wert and Richards, who will do whatever they can to make sure both Jonathan and Prince & Company fail. Can Jonathan and Emmy save the store? (As an aside: G.W. Bailey (Police Academy) plays the role of Felix in the film. He is a security guard who does whatever Richards tells him to do).
“Mannequin” was directed by Michael Gottlieb (A Kid in King Arthur’s Court). He also co-wrote the screenplay with Edward Rugoff (Double Take). Additional uncredited written work was done by David Issacs and Ken Levine, both of whom won Emmys for their writing work on “Cheers.” The film premiered on February 13, 1987. Parts comedy, fantasy, and romance, it has a runtime of 90 minutes. Albert Hammond and Diane Warren received Oscar nominations for Best Music, Original Song for writing the featured song for the film “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” performed by Jefferson Starship. “Mannequin” was followed by a sequel “Mannequin: On the Move,” which premiered in South Korea on April 27, 1991. The film starred Kristy Swanson (The Program) and William Ragsdale (Herman’s Head).
Trivia buffs take note: The role of Jonathan was originally envisioned as an older man, and was written for BAFTA and two time Golden Globe winner Dudley Moore (Micki + Maude). Before filming began, Kim Cattrall spent six weeks posing for a sculptor, who captured her likeness and created six different mannequins, each of whom had a different expression. Several years before filming “Mannequin,” Estelle Getty and Meshach Taylor worked together on the pilot episode of “The Golden Girls,” the episode’s title was “The Engagement.” Furthermore, Taylor had a cameo appearance as the character Hollywood in the music video for “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”
“Mannequin” was something I had seen a number of times when I was a pre-teen. I can’t even remember the last time I had seen it, prior to watching it recently. When I came across the DVD in my friend’s collection, I asked if I could borrow it. I am glad I did. If you’re looking for something that will give you a break from the problems of the world at the moment, at least for a few hours, this film hopefully will work for you.