Film review: Earth Girls Are Easy

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 2 1989 12:00 a.m. MDT

If it didn't wear out its welcome so early, "Earth Girls Are Easy" would be a lot more fun. But even running out of steam as it eventually does, there is zany goofball fun for the undiscriminating moviegoer.

Just a rundown of the plot should tell you where we're going here: Three fuzzy aliens — all as colorfully neon as this film's entire look — crash-land their spaceship into a swimming pool in a Los Angeles back yard.

The yard happens to belong to Geena Davis, who is sunning in her bikini at the time. Where most of us would go berserk, however, Davis manages merely to become curious.

Davis is a manicurist, and after befriending the aliens, who are little more than extraterrestrial swingers looking for a party, she does the logical thing with her three newfound friends — she takes them to the hair salon where she works and has her boss (comic songstress Julie Brown) give them a makeover so they look human. Then they do the town.

The plot is little more than yet another variation on the old fish-out-of-water routine that has serviced everything from "E.T." to "`Crocodile' Dundee," and indeed most of the humor comes from the three aliens' inability to cope with a town full of people who are even weirder than they are.

What propels the film, however, is director Julien Temple's visual sense, which has some eye-popping decor and lots of little sight gags going on all around the action, including a number of song-and-dance set pieces that look like "The Wizard of Oz" on acid.

Also quite helpful is Davis' performance as a genuine, sweet, naive innocent who is pushed around by her sleazy boyfriend (Charles Rocket) until she finally begins to fall for one of the aliens (her real-life husband Jeff Goldblum). Davis is quite wonderful, and, as I've said before, reminds me of Paula Prentiss. Julie Brown, best known for her song and video "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun," is also delightful in her film debut (she also co-wrote the script from another of her songs).

But Temple's penchant for music video-style zip becomes a bit wearing after the first half-hour or so and he hasn't learned since his last film, the equally dazzling but vacuous "Absolute Beginners," that the story needs to be moved along by plotting and characterization, not just glitz.

On the whole this is less a movie than a stretched-out, padded video.

It is rated PG, though there is quite a bit of sexual content and partial nudity.

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