Today’s feature is one of the most unnecessary and inexplicable sequels in movie history: Mannequin 2: On The Move.
The plot of Mannequin 2 is summarized on IMDb as follows:
A young department store intern falls in love with a female store mannequin who is really a peasant girl fallen under a thousand year spell. She comes to life whenever he removes the cursed necklace from her.
Mannequin 2 was directed by Stewart Raffill, whose other films include Tammy and the T-Rex, Mac and Me, and The Philadelphia Experiment.
The handful of writers involved with Mannequin 2 included Edward Rugoff (Mr. Nanny, Mannequin), David Isaacs (Critical Condition, Cheers), Ken Levine (Frasier, M*A*S*H), Michael Gottlieb (Mr. Nanny, Mannequin), and Betsy Israel, who has no other listed credits.
The primary cast of the film is made up by Kristy Swanson (Deadly Friend, The Phantom), William Ragsdale (Fright Night, Fright Night Part 2, Left Behind), Meshach Taylor (Mannequin, The Howling), Terry Kiser (Weekend At Bernie’s, Weekend At Bernie’s II, Friday the 13th Part VII), and Stuart Pankin (Fatal Attraction, Striptease, Arachnophobia).
The music for Mannequin 2 was composed by David McHugh, who also provided music for The Dream Team, Mystic Pizza, and Moscow On The Hudson, among a handful of others.
The estimated budget for Mannequin 2 was $13 million, on which it only grossed a minute $3.8 million in its theatrical run, making it a significant financial failure. Critically, it didn’t fare any better: it currently holds an IMDb user rating of 4.0/10, alongside Rotten Tomatoes scores of 13% from critics and 41% from audiences.
Mannequin 2 is a bad movie to be sure, but there are some weirdly redeeming qualities here. First and foremost, the cast seems like they totally bought in on the inherent goofiness of the concept, and they all exaggerate their roles in a way that the movie at least remotely entertaining. Also, there are a lot of issues I had with the first film that are mostly rectified here. For instance, characters are more realistically weirded out by the concept of someone fucking a mannequin, which was missing in the first movie. Also, despite the humor still mostly missing the mark, I feel like the deliveries and performances are actually better in this sequel. Particularly, I thought Terry Kiser got a great opportunity to mustache-twirl with this flick, and absolutely owned it. Likewise, both leads are at least more relatable and likable in this movie, even if they are not quite as deep as a standard kiddie pool.
Something that is particularly strange about this film is the lack of actual mannequin screen time. For most of the film, the curse that creates the eponymous mannequin is actually lifted, which in a lot of ways is good: it allows both that character and her relationships to develop in a realistic way. However, it also drifts pretty far from the concept of the movie: this is more of a time travel love story or Sleeping Beauty concept than a movie about a mannequin. Honestly, that is probably for the best at the end of the day.
Overall, despite Mannequin 2 being immensely campy and weak in the humor department, I think it is actually a pretty decent remake of the original movie, if not a good sequel. Honestly, the two movies are connected in total by a single line of dialogue, and I think this movie primarily focuses on trying to fix issues with the first movie and re-imagine the concept. On a level, it works: I think the movie is better than the first because of that effort. However, it is still an atrocious, if watchable, comedy movie.
If you like campy humor, then you might just be surprised by this movie. I think there is a reason why these movies have a cult following: they master a specific niche kind of humor that doesn’t resonate with most audiences. For people that can find the value in the movie, I think it is a pretty good time. For almost everyone else in the universe, this movie is just yet another bad, dated comedy movie. However, bad movie fans should definitely give it a look.