Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Olive Films - MANNEQUIN TWO: ON THE MOVE, DIRTY WORK on Blu-ray ""

Monday, September 28, 2015

Olive Films - MANNEQUIN TWO: ON THE MOVE, DIRTY WORK on Blu-ray

MANNEQUIN TWO: ON THE MOVE (1991; Stewart Raffill)
There were many goofy franchises in the 1980s. I'm a fan of most of them. That said, it seems to me that MANNEQUIN TWO: ON THE MOVE gets a pretty bad rap amongst the lot. Let's not forget that made a sequel to THE JERK (sure, for TV but still...) if we really think this movie is so bad. I for one find it pretty adorable. With William Ragsdale and Kristy Swanson as the romantic leads, how can you go wrong? Ragsdale has charmed us in both FRIGHT NIGHT and HERMAN'S HEAD and he's delightful here. Swanson is THE DEADLY FRIEND and the original BUFFY THE VAMPIRE! It's a match made in heaven. For this follow up to the 1986 hit film (which I saw for the first time at a drive-in by the way), the creatives behind it have bumped up the initial timeline from Ancient Egypt to Medieval Times. A prince (Ragsdale) falls for a peasant girl (Swanson) and when his mom the queen catches them, she has her magician guy (Bernie from WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S) cast a spell on her that keeps her frozen as a mannequin for one thousand years. Roughly one thousand years later, (again Ragsdale), is on his way to a new department store job (after a killer opening title song that rivals the one in THREE O'CLOCK HIGH) where his is assigned as assistant to Hollywood (Meshach Taylor) who is still an artiste extraordinaire. One thing leads to another, Ragsdale meets the mannequin, discovers he's the ancestor of the prince and so on and so forth. Sweet right? Well it is and I am not ashamed that I enjoy it. 
Part of this movie's bad reputation may come in part from director Stewart Raffill's somewhat questionable legacy. Some of his other work include things like STANDING OVATION, MAC AND ME, THE ICE PIRATES and TAMMY AND THE T-REX. I happen to enjoy most of these and actually really like his movie THE SEA GYPSIES, but I can see how perhaps folks might think he makes movies that others find less than great. My point here though is that MANNEQUIN TWO deserves some re-evaluation. Check out this MANNEQUIN-centric podcast episode from my friends over at Married with Clickers for a lovely discussion of the film's merits:
http://marriedwithclickers.libsyn.com/married-with-clickers-episode-182-mannequin-1-2
MANNEQUIN TWO: ON THE MOVE can be purchased on Blu-ray here:
DIRTY WORK (1998; Bob Saget)
Of all the silly films that grew out of Saturday Night Live, DIRTY WORK is easily one of my favorites. Norm MacDonald was one of those guys that I didn't fully "get" at first. His style and cadence on Weekend Update perplexed me at first when I saw in high school, but he soon won me over. He really was (and is) one of those personalities that is comically unique and kind of iconic in his own way. I still find myself entertained by just about anything he's involved with (see VAMPIRE DOG for example). Sadly, DIRTY WORK didn't exactly set the box office on fire when it was released in 1998 (in fact it only made back about $10 million of its $13 million budget). Despite that, it was a pretty big deal to my coworkers and I at the video store when it came out on VHS. It was definitely in the rotation of films we would throw on the TVs when we were prepping to open the store in the morning. I feel it definitely picked up a good deal of momentum on home video (as did a lot of the SNL spinoff movies). A lot of that has to do with Norm himself and the endless quotability of the movie. Bring up the movie in conversation and you're bound to get at least one, "I've never seen so many dead hookers in all my life" thrown at you. It's the randomness of some of the comedy that I love a lot about DIRTY WORK. The little asides, the oddball moments. One scene has Norm and Artie Lange standing in a room holding dead fish whilst a whole bunch of ridiculous stuff goes on in another room off screen. Fun stuff. There's even a sodomy joke that is handled in the most memorable way ("It's the lack of respect!"). There are also lots of funny bits with Jack Warden's character and Chris Farley's too.
This is an odd comparison to make, but there is something about Norm MacDonald that reminds me ever so slightly of Groucho Marx. Before you start throwing things at me, know that I'm not saying Norm is in any way on par with Groucho, but there is just something about Norm's delivery that occasionally makes me think of the Marx fella. Something about the way he leans on a joke as if to say, "Hey that's funny right?". Anyway, I'm also always amused by the fact that Bob Saget directed this thing. For those that only associate him with FULL HOUSE and AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS (and not his rather explicit standup), this movie may have seemed pretty raunchy. Knowing about Saget's true nature, it really makes me wish they'd have moved forward with an R-rated version of DIRTY WORK (which was supposedly a thing at one point). I guess that part of the film's charm is its PG-13-ishness and how that leaves room for a slight air of innocence amidst the raunch and random antics. Like a lot of films from the late 1990s, DIRTY WORK gets lost in the shuffle a bit and that's a shame cause it's funny stuff and deserves more love. 
Note to self: learn to fight.

DIRTY WORK can be purchased on Blu-ray here:
http://amzn.to/1LFEutA

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