1 Hr., 40 Mins.
Earth Girls Are Easy September 18, 2020
liens invade Earth like partycrashers in the lively, soufflé-light musical-comedy Earth Girls Are Easy (1989). These aliens come in a pack of three, and are played with comic airheadedness by Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, and Jeff Goldblum. They're covered in primary-colored fur — textured like wiry Border Terriers — and roam around the outer limits in an orange and red spaceship that looks like a bloated hot dog. We
should perhaps think of this triad the way we would pleasure-seeking college-aged straight dudes living in a house together on the fringes of their university. This is a bunch that prioritizes fun so much above everything else that we might wonder when the last time they trusted their logic rather than their instincts was; they decide to catapult themselves toward Earth so they can have a good time with its women and get acquainted with its material pleasures.
A little into Earth Girls Are Easy, the aliens crash-land into the pool of Valerie (Geena Davis), a manicurist at the San Fernando Valley-based “Curl Up & Dye” salon. Valerie, like the aliens, is lovesick. She’s engaged to marry a doctor, Ted (Charles Rocket). But Ted is bad news. The first time we meet him, he’s coming home late, fresh hickey on his neck, explaining unconvincingly to Valerie that things just got crazy at work. Valerie moans to her co-worker Candy (Julie Brown) that these days she and Ted so seldom have sex that they might as well be married already.
Valerie has the good heart of someone who would leave food out on the porch for stray pets. Perhaps further incensed by the growing discontent of her personal life, she decides to take in the aliens rather than recoil. Valerie first enlists Candy to give them makeovers (mostly their fur is shaved off, and suddenly and decisively the invaders look an awful lot like Carrey, Wayans, and Goldblum). Valerie then introduces them to the Valley’s nightlife; they learn to start acting less like aliens and more like Valley youths the more they take in pop-culture ephemera in their off-hours.
It isn’t long before they’re capable of carrying on decipherable (if still "off")
conversations with earthly inhabitants. The Wayans- and Carrey-portrayed aliens, Zeebo and Wiploc, are content scurrying off to find their own fun after a while. But Mac, who is played by Goldblum and who is the most “normal”-acting of the trio, takes a liking to Valerie — something predictably requited after not very long. “An alien made me pregnant!” an open National Enquirer-style tabloid reads on Valerie’s kitchen table early in the movie.
Earth Girls Are Easy has clearly been modeled by director Julien Temple after the films of John Waters. The film presumably takes place in the 1980s, but it isn't very recognizable: it's a hyper-schlockified version of the late half of the decade — flamboyantly retrophilic. One’s hair cannot simply be curly — each
strand of hair must be so tightly coiled you can almost hear it bounce when it wiggles around in the air. One cannot merely don glasses — one must wear a pair with frames five sizes too big that also have a bright blue floral pattern. And neon cannot be an accent because it instead must be the centerpiece around which all architecture must form. Visually the movie is dynamite — a pastelled feast for the eyes, a shabby-chic moving coloring book. (One can see why the Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, who makes terrible music but who arguably has a good eye that gravitates toward the hyperbolic, basically remade Earth Girls Are Easy in a 2015 music video.)
Eye candy aside, the movie in other places is less assured. It’s campy but not sharply so — Earth Girls Are Easy revels in its presentation so much that it forgets a lot of the time to make fun of itself as well; it can be absurdly funny but on the whole is not absurd enough, not funny enough. The music and its accompanying sequences are so canned that when they appear, our memories are jogged — like we’re remembering, after forgetting, that this is a movie musical as well as a romantic comedy. But it's all so good-natured and pretty to look at that I can't begrudge it that much. B