Earth Girls Are Easy

Year: 1989
Director: Julien Temple
Starring: Geena Davis, Jim Carrey, Jeff Goldblum, Julie Brown, Damon Wayans
Written by Rhys Wortham
Edited by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Looking at the title of this film, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a very weird and very silly comedy movie. Actually, you’d be right on the money. This 1980s romantic-comedy featuring aliens is just as strange as you’d expect, but it does have a certain charm to it, as well as a pretty impressive cast.

Geena Davis stars as Valerie, a nail technician, who is about to get married to a doctor. That is, until she catches him trying to seduce some woman from his work a few weeks before their wedding and kicks him out of her house. A short time after that, a spaceship containing three aliens (played by Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans) conveniently crash lands in her pool, in California. The three aliens have the typical wacky oddness as well as some sort of supernatural powers but they learn to adapt and eventually learn how to party in California. Valerie, of course, also falls in love with one of the aliens, and we see her learning how to deal with that too.

Hollywood, especially in the 1980s, had a unique way of exploring sexual tensions between the genders in incredibly weird ways. In various sci-fi movies, they loved to emphasise this blend between different species. With ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’ it blends the vibrant charm of the 1980s with 1940s sci-fi pulp stories, and various psychedelic montages to create a really different love story subtext. Various scenes, while camp, are chopped full of dialogue that allow Valerie (Geena Davis) to go through the very common worry of “what will happen if I sleep with this alien”. It weaves the silliness of a love story around a self-discovery sub-story, whilst exploring the “fish out of water” comedic routine. There are also multiple 80s references to what California life was like back then, but I didn’t care for these “you had to be there” moments as they didn’t have much of an impact on the story as a whole. 

The jokes mostly consist of light humour and misunderstandings, with one of the funnier moments coming when the gang accidentally rob a gas station. The jokes are cute and inoffensive, unlike some of the comedies from this era. The acting throughout is hammed-up, but it feels like it’s kinda intentionally making fun of the sci-fi B movies it references regularly (in every other scene actually). The jokes, combined with the acting, vary in their impact, because the story elements that require over-the-top acting seem too unreal for some of the sketches at hand, or the scenes were unrealistic and the acting was below par. The love story, while not to convincing, still binds a lot of the main plot together. The only scene that feels like filler is the sex scene – of course there’s a sex scene – but it’s more triply than it is graphic. This, out of all the scenes, seemed the most ham-fisted. The musical numbers though – and no, I’m not kidding – are really fun and fit the strange vibe of the movie brilliantly.

Most will love this film simply because it’s something different for romantic movie fans. For me, it’s just a fun, surreal experience, spoofing 1940/1950s sci-fi pulp stories and movies. The familiar faces amongst the cast only prove they had talent long before they were fully recognised. The only reason I have to score it so low is that the movie hasn’t aged well, and some of the story is weak. The special effects are more than obvious, some of the props are ugly, and the musical numbers, while funny, are guilty of being cheesy at times.

Rhys’ rating: 6.5 out of 10
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