I will start this off with a question I posed while watching this film, followed by a statement. Is there an era where Jeff Goldblum does not look amazing? Probably not, and along with that thought I want to state that Earth Girls Are Easy might well be one of the most underrated comedies of the 1980's if not one of the most underrated films of the entire decade. With a healthy amount of influence from the New Wave movement of the 80's, a cast of actors who would be stars only years later and some of the best musical numbers, in terms of zaniness since Little Shop of Horrors, this has got to be one of the most misunderstood and overlooked films ever, certainly not deserved of the ungrounded 5.0/10 given to it on IMDB. An argument could certainly be made that the films is dated, considering the costuming, cell frame animation and surfer dialogue spouted by most of the characters, but like my somewhat recent review of Clueless, I think a lot of the films magic comes in its rather exceptional satire. Under the directorial eye of Julien Temple this film does not shy away from a visual metaphor and, indeed, embellishes ever moment to use a prop or sign to reinforce or undermine what is occurring on the screen. Hell, some of the more intense scenes exude an almost Lynchian quality. It is impossible to watch something like Earth Girls Are Easy without a wide smile and wider eyes, the character commit to the absurdity of what is going on, and even Jeff Goldblum's detached smugness manages to work beautifully within the musical. With an equal number of SNL and In Living Color actors involved on this production the humor is rather obvious, however, it is no surprise that many of the laughs come from unexpected moments. A film that uses both The B-52's and Depeche Mode in its soundtrack while also deconstructing notions of otherness, male sexual promiscuity and vanity cannot be easily shirked and it should not be as unloved as it stands to be at the moment.
The premise of Earth Girls Are Easy is as such, Valerie (Geena Davis) is rearing for what she hopes to be the inevitable marriage to her ideal husband the doctor Ted (Charles Rocket) despite their love live having gone to the dumps, made all the more problematic by his wandering eye. Valerie's coworker Candy (Julie Brown) suggest that she undertake a makeover as a means to rekindle things with Ted, unfortunately, her act is a little too late as her attempts to surprise Ted, result in her catching him in an act of infidelity. Meanwhile, in the expanses of outer space three aliens, in desperate hope of getting laid botch their controls and crash land on earth, in of all places Valerie's pool, only hours after a fight with Ted has led to his being kicked out. The three aliens Zeebo (Damon Wayans), Wiploc (Jim Carrey) and Mac (Jeff Goldblum) emerge from the pool to a frightened and uncertain Valerie. Yet after much misunderstanding and a realization that it will take at least a day for her pool to be drained in order for the spaceship to be removed, Valerie agrees to take the aliens in and hide them. However, their colorful furry bodies will not pass as humans, and she recruits a befuddled Candy to help. Upon cleaning them up to make them look more human, it is apparent that they are not bad looking, least of all Mac who Valerie takes a liking to instantly. Obtaining a surprisingly substantial amount of information and language from one afternoons worth of language, the aliens fit nicely into the absurdity that was the West Coast in the 80's. Yet, Ted returns into the picture when he realizes the error in his ways and while seeking forgiveness has a falling out with the aliens, leading to their eventual arrest and placement in a hospital. Ted sees the aliens as the medical break through that will assure him success, while Valerie only possesses concern for their safety and after much back and forth she is able to return the trio to their ship, realizing that it is best for Valerie to stay with Ted, Mac uses his alien techniques to cause the couples hormones to run wild, yet it proves unsuccesful as Valerie now loves Mac. Elated Mac invites her to join them as they return to their planet.
A couple of brilliant things are going on in this film, the first being the clear condemnation of the America under the hyper-conservative eyes of Reagan. Ted represents an individual who wants all that wealth entails as well as an unbridled masculine privilege, particularly in regards to those who work under him, as opposed to Valerie who appears to want to exist in a state of self-expression and enjoyment as her employment at Curl-Up and Dye suggests. The film contrast this image of hyper rigidity with an equally problematic free hippie liberalism via Woody (Michael McKean) whose demands that every one chill and be cool push a varied form of conformity. Aside from the "otherness" of the aliens as a commentary all its own, perhaps suggestions of interracial love or at least communal unity, the intense observation skills of Mac, Wiploc and Zeebo display a commentary on the necessity for listening and learning, particularly for an assured unified society. The aliens succeed in companionship because they, better than the humans in the film, pick up on cues in the world around them and in any instance that their actions may be seen as violent or aggressive, it is always the result of ignorance or misunderstanding on the individual they are engaged with. In fact, if any person in the film is incapable of evolution it is Ted with his philandering ways, a habit he shows no intent of altering. Only Valerie is able to obtain the drive to learn from the aliens, something that comes to fruition when she leaves Ted to join Mac on a new planet. This is a migration to the unknown on an intergalactic level, transcendent of the woes of late 80's America, yet all to keen in its inherent suggestive nature.
Key Scene: Dat reveal of Jeff Goldblum! You will know what I am talking about. I was prior to this film gay for Brad Pitt, but I might add Mr. Goldblum to that list as well.
This fim needs a revival and I hope at least one person who reads this takes my reviews earnestness to heart. Either purchase a copy or watch it on Netflix. Who knows maybe this vibrant an cinematic film will get an HD upgrade if enough people show interest.