1988’s ‘Earth Girls are Easy’ is almost ridiculous in how much fun it is.
Beyond the goofy story, kitschy production design, random musical numbers and serendipitous casting, the movie seems less like a real thing and more like a modern teenager’s fever dream of what the ultimate ridiculous 80’s movie might be. It stars Geena Davis, Damon Wayans, Jim Carrey, and Julie Brown. It’s equal parts Barbie/Valley Girl vapidity, sci-fi satire, and romantic comedy.
Also, it has vintage Jeff Goldblum.
Jeff Goldblum is the male equivalent of the thing they do in movies where they take a hot girl and put glasses on her to make her dowdy. Put him in glasses and a jacket with elbow patches and you have a nerdly college professor who is still smoking hot. Put him in overalls and you have a hot farmer. Dress him in sweats and a ‘Han Shot First!’ tshirt with Cheeto stains and he’s still That Hot Guy who’s into World of Warcraft. The man’s hotness is unimpeachable.
Earth Girls are Easy begins with two furry aliens onboard their little ship, trying to get their version of Skinemax working. Jim Carrey, proving to the world that even a red fursuit can’t cramp his overacting style, plays Wiploc, and the more restrained and somewhat more charming Zeebo is played by Damon Wayans. Their captain, Mac, is snoozing in some kind of giant laser tube while his crew gets up to shenanigans.
Enter Val, the consummate Valley Girl, trying to entice her fiancee into a night of passion back on Earth–only to be rebuffed. Doctor Ted, World’s Biggest Shitheel, comes home ‘tired’ from work and goes right to sleep. What’s really going on is that Ted is just not that attracted to Val anymore, and is considering a ‘last fling’ with a coworker in order to spice things up before he marries her. Because, you know, if there’s one thing a troubled relationship needs, it’s infidelity.
Valerie, in an attempt to win back Ted’s affections, undergoes a makeover at the salon where she works, orchestrated by Julie Brown, an 80’s personality who co-wrote the film. The result has Val looking a bit like Pris from Blade Runner–owing more to Davis’s 6-foot-tall frame and bone structure than anything else.
Seriously. Her legs go on longer than a Ken Burns documentary.
Anyway, it turns out Ted thought she would be out of the house and takes the opportunity to bring home his fling–with disastrous results. Val throws his ass out with nothing but his boxers and carkeys, and performs a pretty boss little music video montage where she trashes his stuff.
Even for the 80’s, that was pretty 80’s-tastic.
Anyhoodle, the next day the aliens land in her pool, drawn to the Valley by images of hot girls doing aerobics. With Julie Brown’s help, she shaves and dyes them, making them look normal (if not distractingly hot). This might have been a fun place to reflect on the details of the change–if they don’t shave every day, do they get red, yellow or blue stubble? Was ALL their bodyhair affected? Are these questions I really want to know the answer to?
Although from another planet, their Asperger’s-like interactions with other Valley inhabitants go completely unnoticed, and Val’s explanation that they are a Finnish rock band placates the rare question. Hell, there’s not much people questioned then.
The humor of the movie is more clever than you’d expect: Davis was a gifted comedic actress, after all, and while the movie doesn’t make the most of her talents, her charm and mildly vapid gawkiness gives the film a necessary boost. And little nods to both the seediness of the local scene (especially Michael McKean’s past-his-prime surfer, Woody) and classic Sci-fi (an ice cream parlor in the background is ‘2001 Flavors,’ Val’s dream after sex with Mac has a small army of recognizable science fiction stalwarts, like Robby the Robot and fishbowl helmets. And much of the film’s best laughs are little throwaway moments: Val dismissing instant pudding as ‘too much work,’ or Goldblum ‘acting normal’ by pretending to shave with a stuffed animal in the background of a scene which is mostly between Val and Ted.
Earth Girls are Easy is a fun, silly romp with the most subtle and sly of jokes. And it’s vaguely anarchic take on 80’s Valley Girl shtick is not an accident – -it was directed by Julian Temple, who’s documentaries are arguably who put The Sex Pistols on the map of the 70’s punk scene. Quite a weird pedigree for a movie with this much flamingo pink in it.
Earth Girls are Easy is available on Instant Watch.