This 80s gem features a romance like no other.

Jonathan Switcher is an aspiring sculptor in Philadelphia. When he works at a job creating mannequins, he thinks he has found the perfect one. However, he loses his job due to lack of quantity. His penchant for losing jobs causes a rift in his relationship with Roxie, who works at the popular department store Illustra. After Roxie dumps him, Jonathan finds the mannequin he created at another department store, Prince & Company. The next day, Jonathan saves the store’s owner, Mrs. Timkin from a falling sign and is given a job as a reward.

Jonathan works as stock boy at first, but then he meets Hollywood Montrose, the flamboyant visual merchandiser. That night, when Jonathan is all alone to work the window for the next day’s opening, he gets a major shock of a lifetime. The mannequin he created comes to life. The mannequin is Emmy, an Egyptian princess who has traveled through many time periods to find both independence and love. Only Jonathan can see Emmy in human form, but what will happen when he learns some of the Prince & Co. staff are conspiring with Illustra for a takeover?

This 1987 film was a surprise hit at the box office for a few reasons. One, no one expected a romance between a man and a store mannequin. Not just that. At the time of release, Andrew McCarthy became a household name with his performances in St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink. So it was fitting that he would be the top name to play our hapless zero turned hero Jonathan Switcher and his chemistry with Kim Cattrall as Egyptian princess turned mannequin Emmy couldn’t be any more perfect.

McCarthy and Cattrall are perfect together as we see them go from working together on the windows to a great montage of various outfits and dances to Alisha’s “Do You Dream About Me”. Meshach Taylor’s Hollywood is a true breakout character whose flamboyant nature is the stuff of legend. It was so good that he would return for the 1991 sequel Mannequin Two: On the Move. James Spader loves to play snarky characters, but this is his most outrageous role as the butt-kissing, nouveau riche type in the slimy Mr. Richards while G.W. Bailey’s born to play security guard Felix, who is a carbon copy of his iconic Captain Harris in the Police Academy franchise.

Another comic character comes in the form of Illustra team member Armand, hilariously played by Christopher Maher as he constantly tries to woo Jonathan’s ex Roxie, played by siren Carole Davis. Davis, hiding her native British accent, is wonderfully both charming and evil when it comes to Roxie. She means business, but tends to up the charm when she tries to convince Jonathan to join Illustra. As for Steve Vinovich’s antagonist B.J. Wert, he is smarmy but yet acts like he’s smart while Estelle Getty’s Mrs. Timkin is sweet natured but tough like her iconic Golden Girls character when it needs to be.

Mannequin is a definitive 80’s gem that needs to be appreciated more. It’s a fun and wild romantic comedy driven by the perfect chemistry between Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall, plus a breakout performance by Meshach Taylor.


20th Century Fox presents a Gladden Entertainment production. Director: Michael Gottlieb. Producer: Art Levinson. Writers: Edward Rugoff and Michael Gottlieb. Cinematography: Timothy Suhrstedt. Editing: Richard Halsey and Frank Jimenez.

Cast: Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty, James Spader, G.W. Bailey, Meshach Taylor, Carole Davis, Steven Vinovich, Christopher Maher.