Earth Girls Are Easy

I have two confessions to make. The first one is that I am a big “Beach Blanket Bingo” fan. Not just “Beach Blanket Bingo,” but “Beach Party,” “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini,” “Muscle Beach Party” and just about every film with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon.


I grew up with these films. I know they are corny by today’s standards, but I was seven when I saw my first “beach” movie. That’s my first confession. My second confession is that until I watched the DVD, I had never seen “Earth Girls Are Easy.” I don’t know why. I managed a video store when it came out. I ordered it. We stocked it. We probably played it in store on the monitors. So I don’t know what has been keeping me from “Earth Girls Are Easy.” When I got done watching the film, I started kicking myself. Why? Because “Earth Girls” is nothing more than a modern (as modern as 1988 can be) beach musical.

Geena Davis plays the Annette character, now working at a stylish salon in the San Fernando valley called “Curl Up and Dye.” Her best friend’s name is “Candy,” and she’s a real flirt. Valerie (Davis) is getting ready to marry a philandering doctor when an alien spaceship lands in her pool. Hey, it’s the valley. Everyone has a pool. Inside are three furry aliens with weird names, who find themselves trapped on Earth for one night while their ship is prepped for launch.

Valerie befriends the aliens, and takes them to her salon, where they undergo major make-overs. Now they look like Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans, and turn out to be three very hip intergalactic travelers. Valerie and Candy take them for a night on the town, where the guys pick up all kinds of Earth lingo and habits, and become the hit of the party. “Earth Girls Are Easy” is a great goof, a sweet, good-natured frolic that is so much fun to watch and listen to. The plot is as thin as Kate Moss, but the style and substance are bountiful. Directed with visual flair by Julien Temple, “Earth Girls Are Easy” is visually exciting. The film’s MTV roots are evident, yet Temple imbues the proceedings with a naive charm that really worked for me.

I liked the musical numbers, especially the songs that sound like they were recorded in a studio and not live. That gives the film that “beach musical” artificial sound that is so nostalgic. The cast is wonderful, especially Goldblum as the “Frankie” character. Carrey and Wayans were still wet behind the ears when they made this film, yet their comic brilliance is in fine form. Julie Brown is delicious as Candy, while Charles Rocket is appropriately pompous as Dr. Unfaithful. The film features a buoyant musical score by Neil Rodgers that is especially impressive during a symphony of natural noises made by the aliens. There’s so much to like about “Earth Girls Are Easy.” I guess the best thing is that it comes with no pretensions. What you see is what you get, and on that level, it’s enormously entertaining. I still can’t believe it took me ten years to discover this film. Now that’s what DVD is all about.

COMPLETE CHECK-UP

VISION: [ X ] EXCELLENT [ ] GOOD [ ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.

Shot in day-glow and candy coated colors, “Earth Girls Are Easy” is a virtual visual feast. The widescreen (2.35:1, enhanced at 16:9 for widescreen televisions) digital transfer is superior in all respects. There might have been a small amount of compression artifacts, but I didn’t see any. The images are sharp and brilliant. The colors are especially dazzling. Candy apple reds, brilliant blues, soothing yellows, grassy greens and genuine flesh tones combine with thick blacks to deliver a most impressive image. The transfer is so gorgeous my television looked brand new. If you need a DVD to show off your players clarity, I recommend this one.

HEARING: [ X ] EXCELLENT [ ] GOOD [ ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.

Excellent, expressive and enveloping (see, I knew I could squeeze in three “E” words) Dolby Digital Surround track. Full of life and vitality, the surround track fills the room with bouncy music, crystal clear dialogue, powerful basses, pleasing high ends, and superior stereo separation. A total aural experience that pumps up the jam.

ORAL: [ ] EXCELLENT [ ] GOOD [ X ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.

Subtitles in Spanish.

COORDINATION: [ X ] EXCELLENT [ ] GOOD [ ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.

The “Earth Girls Are Easy” DVD features full-motion main and scene access menus that are as colorful as the film. Easy navigation makes it a breeze to access your favorite scene, check up on the original theatrical trailer, or tune in to “Valley Cable,” a wonderful, imaginative collection of extras presented as programs on a television. As you maneuver up and down the channels, you’re treated to a bounty of fun stuff, including four Karaoke songs (one, “I Like Them Big & Stupid,” is a music video that looks like a scene trimmed from the film), outtakes, make-up and costume tests, deleted scenes (including a very funny bit at a fast food drive-in that didn’t make it into the final film), a haunting collage of images from the film that depict Valerie’s nightmare, and the television inserts that appear in the actual film, like the “General Hospital” spoof and a channel devoted to the pleasures of Finland. Make sure you move around and click on everything here, because there are some hidden surprises. When you get to the Karaoke screen, click on the microphone, and you get an interesting fact on microphones. I also liked the behind-the-camera look at the filming of one scene that shows the hustle that goes on out of the camera’s range. Nicely done collection of extras, presented in an enjoyable format that makes great use of the DVD format.

PROGNOSIS: [ X ] EXCELLENT [ ] GOOD [ ] RESUSCITATE [ ] D.O.A.

I had such a great time with this DVD that I’m going to watch it again.

VITALS: $29.98/Rated PG/100 Min./Color/36 Chapter Stops/Keepcase

ATTENDING RESIDENT: John Larsen

PATIENT: EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY: SPECIAL EDITION

BIRTH DATE: 1988

HMO: Artisan Entertainment



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