Two Cents Wonders if EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY

Two Cents is an original column akin to a book club for films. The Cinapse team thoughts on each film using a maximum of 200 words each. Guest writers and fan comments are encouraged, as are suggestions for future entries to the column. Join us as we share our two cents on films we love, films we are curious about, and films we believe merit some discussion.

The Pick:

How does one go about describing Earth Girls Are Easy to someone who has never seen it before? Where do we even begin?

OK, for starters, Earth Girls Are Easy stars Geena Davis, in the same year as both Beetlejuice and her Oscar-winning performance in The Accidental Tourist, as Valerie, a classic Valley girl soon to be married to a swinging dick (emphasis on dick) of a doctor, Ted (Charles Rocket). But Ted’s not meeting her needs in the bedroom, so Valerie decides to surprise him with a wild night together. Except Ted, thinking she’ll be out of town that night, has brought a nurse home with him. Valerie kicks him to the curb and is now faced with figuring out the next phase of her life and finding fulfillment after so much time in a lousy relationship.

You know the kind of movie I’m describing, right? You can probably guess how the rest is going to play out, yeah?

Anyway, that’s when the UFO crashes into her pool and three colorful furry aliens played by Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, and Jeff Goldblum climb out.

Yeah. It’s not exactly Bridget Jones.

Inspired by the song of the same name by Julie Brown (who co-stars), Earth Girls Are Easy has a vibe to it that can’t be fully conveyed just be describing the plot. Director Julien Temple got his start as a music video director, with special close ties to the Sex Pistols. Earth Girls combines go-for-broke ’80s excess with the daffy pop art sensibilities of a ’50s beach movie, complete with musical numbers and dance breaks, and ties the two together with a bubbly delight in sex and sexuality. Every man, woman, and alien in Earth Girls is fully down to clown, to the point that this PG sci-fi comedy may well be the single horniest movie of the decade.

Unlike so many other smutty ’80s comedies, though, Earth Girls puts female desire and pleasure at the forefront. It’s a film about a woman’s need to be fulfilled both sexually and emotionally, with a camera that delights in the female gaze at least as much as the male.

Earths Girls Are Easy was a flop on release, but the subsequent superstardom of Carrey, plus the ongoing popularity of Goldblum, Davis, and Wayans, has continued to generate a fervent cult following.

So grab your boards, my dudes, and meet us at the beach with Earth Girls Are Easy.

Next Week’s Pick:

It’s been a minute since we’ve had a new Coen Brothers movie, and thanks to the pandemic it’s anyone’s guess when we’ll see the next. In 2018 the film club covered their last, The Ballad of Busters Scruggs, so we figure, why not go back to their first? 1984’s Blood Simple is a lean, mean crime film featuring a cast of great characters actors and already exhibiting some of what would be come the filmmakers’ hallmarks. Catch it with us, streaming now on HBO Max!

Would you like to be a guest in next week’s Two Cents column? Simply watch and send your under-200-word review to twocents(at) anytime before midnight on Thursday!

Our Guests:

Austin Wilden:

Before sitting down to write this I planned on saying something like “Earth Girls are Easy feels like the premise that would be cute for a music video stretched over 100 minutes.” Then I went to look at some info about the movie to better remember what happened and saw that this movie got its premise from a song of the same name by Julie Brown (who plays Valerie’s best friend Candy in the movie), so my initial impression turned out to be more accurate than I assumed.

There are some fun moments of set and makeup work scattered throughout this cult classic, but the weirdest didn’t hit consistently enough for me to vibe with it the way I can with other 1980s film oddities. I appreciate the commitment to the aesthetic pastiche of ‘50s B-movie sci-fi, but the antics of Carrey and Wayans as the more comedic duo of Wiploc and Zeebo were more on the miss than hit side of how often the movie got me laughing. Though even when he’s barely allowed to speak Goldblum makes an effective romantic lead for the type of movie this is through his natural charisma.

Wish I’d been able to get behind Earth Girls are Easy’s specific type of ‘80s-cheese, but mainly found myself wishing I were watching Interstella 5555 (another sci-fi musical romance involving blue aliens) instead. (@WC_WIT)

Mackenzie Eastram:

I just happened to have watched this my first time last weekend on a lark knowing only the bare bones premise and that young Jeff Goldblum and Jim Carry were in it. I was in no way prepared for how much I ended up enjoying this film. I am frankly shocked this isn’t more of a cult classic, it is unabashedly silly, funny, and above all else HORNY. Somehow it all ends up working, at least for me. Obviously Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum are just mind-blowingly attractive and their chemistry manages to make emotional moments actually work in the absurd story. Also it’s a musical, why does nobody mention its a musical? The people who made this movie WENT FOR IT and I always love when you can see that in a film. It’s beyond silly, but it’s not trying to be anything else and honestly I think we could all use that sometimes. (@KenziePhoenix)

Trey Lawson:

Earth Girls Are Easy is one of my favorite 80s comedies, going back when it was on cable seemingly every day. It’s a movie that has a lot going for it: musical numbers, aliens, Marlon Wayans in a dance-off, Michael McKean as a surfer bro, and — perhaps most importantly — Jeff Goldblum being eccentrically sexy. Add to that a sincere, funny performance by Geena Davis and Julie Brown’s signature Valley girl persona and you get a film that is just fun from beginning to end.

And yet, along with the silliness of everything, Earth Girls are Easy brings a refreshingly self-aware, feminine perspective to a genre that, at the time, was too often dominated by misogyny. Plus on top of all that it’s got a soundtrack that’s out of this world! (@T_Lawson)

The Team

Brendan Foley:

The moment the women in the beauty parlor burst into a full-on musical number, I knew I was in love.

Earth Girls Are Easy floats on its big bright color palette, its manic energy, and its pervasive, infectious horniness to steamroll past any guardrails you might put up in defense of such gonzo fare. From the second it begins, the movie holds nothing back and never wavers from being fully ‘itself’ for the entire running time. It’s silly and horny and poppy and you’re either on board right away or not at all. That musical number early on throws down the gauntlet even moreso than the cold open in outer space, declaring exactly the vibe the film is going to be putting forth. That’s the ride you bought a ticket for.

At an hour-forty, Earth Girls is pushing the limits of how long this sort of tone and energy level can be sustained. The last stretch especially starts piling up layers of lousy sitcom contrivances to keep characters separated and at odds before the happy ending. At 80 minutes, I’d probably declare this thing an unabashed classic, at 100 minutes it’s maybe more of an acquired taste.

But whatever, man. There’s nothing else like Earth Girls Are Easy and I can only hope that everyone involved looks back on it with great fondness and thinks, ‘We really did it. I don’t know what we did, but there it is.’ (@TheTrueBrendanF)

Austin Vashaw:

What a blast. Earth Girls Are Easy spends its 100 minutes swinging from corny to horny with furry aliens, a big California vibe, colorful song and dance segments, and of course its charming interplanetary romance. In what other movie, I ask, would you ever see references to both Jean Cocteau and Robby the Robot?

Somehow this remains a relatively underseen and underwatched film. These days the star power of the main cast is much better established; I was surprised when I first learned that a pre-fame Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans were in it, shortly before conquering In Living Color.

Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum’s third outing together (following Transylvania 6–5000 and The Fly) isn’t their best, but it may be their most memorable — their chemistry is on full display here and it’s a big, goofy treat for the audience. (@VforVashaw)

Next week’s pick:

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