If the best part of your movie is a Starship song recycled from the nearly unrelated previous entry in the franchise… you’re in trouble.
It’s not hard to identify the biggest problem with Mannequin: On the Move, but it feels somewhat bad to single out Kristy Swanson when there’s so much other terrible stuff going on in the picture.
And it’s not even entirely Swanson’s fault. Towards the end of the movie, she’s actually quite appealing. But for the first two-thirds, as a tenth century girl awakened in the twentieth century, she’s an unappealing moron. Every scene bombs.
Once she’s acclimated, however, Swanson’s not bad at all.
Unfortunately, the terrible plotting also affects leading man William Ragsdale. Ragsdale has no time to make an impression before he’s acting like a doofus around a mannequin. The screenwriters don’t even bother making him sympathetic, only later giving him a tragic backstory.
On to the other big problem (besides the writing in general)–Terry Kiser is atrocious. Playing a Bavarian royal, Kiser does a combination of a Mae West impression and evil forties Japanese villain.
As for the supporting cast, Meshach Taylor is okay (the script fails him often) and Stuart Pankin is mostly bad (though sometimes good). In tiny roles, both Andrew Hill Newman and Julie Foreman are great.
Raffill’s not a good director, but Larry Pizer’s photography is excellent, as is most of William J. Creber’s production design.
On the Move‘s a stinker and, oddly, shouldn’t have been one.
Directed by Stewart Raffill; screenplay by Edward Rugoff, Michael Gottlieb, David Isaacs, Ken Levine and Betty Israel, based on a story by Rugoff and Gottlieb; director of photography, Larry Pizer; edited by Joan E. Chapman and John Rosenberg; music by David McHugh; production designer, William J. Creber; produced by Bruce McNall and Rugoff; released by 20th Century Fox.
Starring Kristy Swanson (Jessie), William Ragsdale (Jason Williamson), Meshach Taylor (Hollywood Montrose), Terry Kiser (Count Spretzle), Stuart Pankin (Mr. James), Cynthia Harris (Jason’s Mom), Julie Foreman (Gail), John Edmondson (Rolf), Phil Latella (Egon), Mark Gray (Arnold) and Andrew Hill Newman (Andy Ackerman).