Thursday 5 August 2010

Obscurity Files #18 - Earth Girls Are Easy

SLACKER Obscurity Files aims to put the spotlight onto a series of films that time and audiences have otherwise forgotten. With I Love You, Philip Morris now out on DVD, we thought we'd have a look at another odd Jim Carrey film. Today it's Earth Girls Are Easy.
More after the jump...

Three aliens fly around the galaxy in their spaceship looking for intelligent life. Instead they land in manicurist Valerie's swimming pool. Can she keep them a secret and hide them from her cheating boyfriend? Maybe after a makeover!

Poor old Mac (Jeff Goldblum), Zeebo (Damon Wayans) and Wiploc (a scarily young Jim Carrey) find themselves stranded at Valerie's whilst they try to fix their waterlogged spaceship, and she's just discovered her fiance Ted's been cheating on her with a parade of floozies. Worried that he'll want to perform experiments on the guys, she takes them down to the 'Curl Up and Dye' beauty salon where they're basically shaved to look like humans.
Click here for the video
Sorry about the stupid subtitles!
This 1988 comedy was directed by Julien Temple, the well known documentarian of the Sex Pistols (The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, There'll Always Be An England). He had worked in feature films before, most notably 1986's David Bowie starring Absolute Beginners. All of his films rely on music heavily (if musicians aren't the subject there'll definitely be musical numbers), and here he was working from a script by musical satirist Julie Brown.

Julie Brown found herself cast in this film in the supporting role of Valerie's best friend Candy. She had made a name for herself in the 1980's as a comic alternative to Madonna, using a ditzy Valley Girl persona in her club act. In 1984 she released 'Goddess in Progress', an album which featured the song that gave this film its name. It also featured a song that would become this films most memorable number, despite it having nothing to do with the narrative or the concept of aliens.
Click here for the video
The last clip was added to the film in post production after a previous musical number had been cut out. It doesn't work perfectly as a musical, needing more memorable songs that actually relate to the story. 'Cause I'm a Blond' may tap into the Valley girl ditziness the film wears as a badge of honour, but it's clearly been put in as filler. To be honest, a lot of the songs are really naff, in particular Geena Davis' melodramatic solo, but there's a definite B-52's new wave surfer vibe to some of the numbers that adds to the charm. There's some horrendous fashion that wasn't even excusable in the 80's, and you could write the script using an incomplete scrabble set, but it definitely has something about it. Sure it's chintzy, but it's kind of cute in a stupid sort of way.

At least the Geena Davis song has some funny flashbacks in it. No wonder her fiance cheated on her; it looks like she's been ruining his life for the last 10 years.
Click here for the video
The romance is a bit weird too. Valerie tells Mac that she doesn't want him to think earth girls are easy, but she still gives it up on the first night. I suppose that's par for the course when you're as smooth (literally) as Jeff Goldblum. After spending the night with Mac, Valerie suffers a monster baby fever dream that is reminiscent of her role in 1986's The Fly. It's quite disturbing and doesn't really fit with the films playful attitude.

In this film's defense, it's meant to be a bit lame. The story's hardly going to win an Oscar, but it's a shame that the aliens aren't called upon to do more. Jeff Goldblum seems content to just brood his way through the film, and Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans have little to do except dance around in the background. When the gang hit the clubs Wayans does have the chance to show off some moves though. Check out this smooth bastard. I wouldn't want to take him on in a dance off.
Click here for the video
It's a bizarre little film with a surprisingly pedigreed cast. Geena Davis had recently appeared in Beetlejuice and was about to win an Oscar for The Accidental Tourist, and Jeff Goldblum had already appeared in The Fly, again with his then wife Geena Davis. Yep, surprisingly, this is one of those passion projects where a rich Hollywood couple decide they want to work together and show their love to the world. The fact that this was the last time they appeared together on screen and that the marriage didn't survive past 1990... well, I'll leave that open to interpretation.

Jim Carrey was able to cement his association with Damon Wayans here, and went on to appear in the Wayans Brothers comedy show, In Living Color. This was 5 years away from any of the signature Carrey roles, with Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber and The Mask all arriving in 1994. Charles Rocket also appears as Valerie's cheating fiance Ted, and he would go on to a slightly more villainous role as the double-crossing kidnapper against Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber.

Julie Brown found a lot of work on television, including the Clueless TV show and a couple of failed attempts to launch her own show. She still continues to write and act, most recently inflicting the world with the Disney magnum opus, Camp Rock. Julien Temple has largely focused on documentaries,  with Glastonbury and Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten as recent examples.

Earth Girls Are Easy is a creature of the 80's that's not without its charms. It's a shame the proposed stage show version never took off, as that could have been a better medium for this material. Despite its talented cast no-one particularly stands out here, although it is a good showcase for Julie Brown's charms. I'm surprised she's not been in more prominent stuff.

Save from obscurity? YES


  1. Sorry about the crap video links folks. Couldn't find any videos that would embed from youtube.

  2. I really like the review but oh my how I hated this movie! It was totally lame, the music was terrible and that stupid blonde number, urgh!
    I'm not sure it does know how shite it is!!

  3. I may disagree with your comments, but would fight to the death for your rights to express them.

    But your wrong, I'm right. Or at least a little bit righter.

  4. Maybe we're both a little right!