'80s Movie Month: "Earth Girls Are Easy" Review

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A spaceship with three furry aliens lands in a California girl's swimming pool, so she makes friends with them and they go on a crazy adventure learning about each other's cultures.
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'80s Movie Month: "Earth Girls Are Easy" Review

Rating: PG (partial nudity and innuendo)
Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: May 12, 1989
Directed by: Julien Temple
Genre: Comedy/Musical/Romance

Valerie (Geena Davis) is a bit of an airhead Valley Girl in Los Angeles who lives with the handsome Ted (Charles Rocket), so on the surface it would seem like her life is pretty decent. Below the surface, she is way too good for her dead-end job, and Ted is secretly cheating on her. She deserves better than life has given her, but that is all about to change in "Earth Girls are Easy," an irreverent comedy from director Julien Temple.

The changes in Valerie's life begin when a rocket from outer space crash lands in her swimming pool. Inside are three male aliens who are very colorful and quite furry. Instead of freaking out, she takes this as a chance to use her skills in cosmetology to give them a makeover. She enlists the help of her best friend Candy (Julie Brown) and shaves and cleans up the aliens, revealing the handsome leader Mac (Jeff Goldblum), Wiploc (Jim Carrey), and Zeebo (Damon Wayans). The aliens appear to really love Earth, especially the beautiful Earth girls like Valerie, who has just found out about Ted's wandering eye.

Now that she is free of the loutish boyfriend, Valerie decides to indulge in some flirting with Mac, who seems to have taken a real shining to her. Valerie and Candy decide to take the alien visitors out for a night on the town, managing to hit up nearly all the picturesque and famous landmarks in all of Los Angeles. Romance begins to bloom between Mac and Valerie while Wiploc and Zeebo try hooking up with girls like a couple of hormone-ridden teenagers. There are a few fun musical numbers thrown in for good measure as the reality of their intergalactic romance begins to hit Valerie and Mac, who must decide where their romance is headed, if it's headed anywhere at all.

Occasionally, a movie showcases the talents of someone with a whole lot of talent before they actually became famous, and it is interesting to see the actor in that setting. In "Earth Girls are Easy," the film features not only the then-unknown talent of Damon Wayans, but also Jim Carrey. Up until the film was released, Wayans had some prominence in the standup comedy world, but wasn't really known too well in the mainstream. Carrey had, likewise, done some standup comedy, and had even gotten the lead part opposite Lauren Hutton in "Once Bitten," but hadn't yet become a household name. They met on the set of this film, then two years later paired up in the groundbreaking sketch comedy show "In Living Color," and the rest is history. Still, looking back on their performances in "Earth Girls are Easy," it is not hard to see why they would eventually become stars. Their comic timing and total dedication to the part, even when asked to do crazy things, is one of the highlights of the film, nearly stealing the show from leads Goldblum and Davis.

The film was written based on a song on the debut album of Brown, who was better known at the time as an MTV video jockey. She fleshed out the story behind the song and created the film as a vehicle for herself, although Davis would get the lead part instead of her. Still, the movie has her touches all over it, since it is not quite a full-blown musical, and not quite a traditional movie, either. It visually looks almost like MTV did at the time, full of color and sound in a way that could have only been done in the 1980s. The fact the story was loosely based on a song by an MTV VJ is no surprise, because the film has four musical numbers, all of which feel like a music video that is somewhat detached from the rest of the proceedings. The best number by far features Brown on lead vocals, showing why the film was originally written for her.

Sometimes a film is a modest success or a flop when it comes out in theaters, only to become something much bigger later on. "The Big Lebowski" is an excellent example of this, because it is now a cult classic despite moderate box office returns upon its release. The same can be said of "Earth Girls are Easy," a film that was unlike anything else in theaters when it was released. Since then, it has slowly gained a small but ardent fan base that all but ensures its longevity in pop culture.

Rating: 3 out of 5