In the Valley, fer shur!

Close encounters of the satiric kind

Published: Aug 31 2015, 01:01:am

Friday, May 12, 1989.
EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY. Written by Julie Brown, Charlie Coffey and Terrence E. McNally. Music by Nile Rogers. Directed by Julien Temple. Running Time: 101 minutes. Mature entertainment with the B.C. Classifier's warning: occasional coarse language and suggestive scenes.
    Of the 107 movies that have opened in Vancouver this year, Earth Girls Are Easy is the front runner in the really neat name category.
    The title, as you probably suspected, came first.
    Inspired by supermarket tabloid tales of women intimately involved with aliens, musical satirist Julie Brown told the story of one such relationship in a song called Earth Girls Are Easy.
    The tune was one of the novelty numbers on Brown's debut album, Goddess in Progress (the record that introduced my own favourite rock ballad of 1984, The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun).
    Earth Girls, the movie, features one of Hollywood's cutest couples. Paired as presenters on this year's Academy Awards telecast, Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum are real-life mates.
    They first worked together in the forgettable 1985 comedy Transylvania 6-5000. Their most striking collaboration was in David Cronenberg's recent remake of The Fly (1986).
    Davis, an Oscar winner for her performance in last year's [1988] The Accidental Tourist, is lovably goofy as Valley girl Valerie Dale, the manicurist at Candy Pink's Curl Up and Dye beauty salon.
    Tuned to her wavelength is Mac (Goldblum), the soulful captain of a disabled starship. Together with his crewmen — Wiploc (Jim Carrey) and Zeebo (Damon Wayans) — Mac crash lands in Valerie's backyard swimming pool.
    As written by Brown and her songwriting partners Charles Coffey and Terrence E. McNally (her husband), Earth Girls is a something-silly-for-the-summertime sort of movie.
    As directed by the British-born Julian (Absolute Beginners) Temple, it's a cheerfully inconsequential, 100-minute-long rock video.
    Designed as a novelty musical, his picture combines elements of 1975's The Rocky Horror Picture Show with the British-made Morons from Outer Space (1985). In the process, it unleashes the talented Julie Brown, an authentic Valley girl and an irrepressible dynamo in her first big-screen starring role.
    As Candy Pink, Brown performs three funny new songs: Brand New Girl; I Like Them Big and Stupid; and 'Cause I'm a Blond. (Sample lyric — 'Cause I'm blond, I don't have to think / I talk like a baby / And I never pay for drinks.)
    Candy is the one in whom Val confides. When the dedicated ''nail technologist" suspects that her live-in boyfriend Ted Gallagher (Charles Rocket) is losing interest, she goes to Candy for a makeover.
    When three furry UFO jockeys arrive at her door, she brings them to Candy for a "Nair treatment."
     The result is "three major cute guys and," Candy reminds Val, "it's Saturday night! "
    Though sober, steady Mac would rather get on with their ship repairs, his girl-starved fellow Jhazzalians need a little R & R. "You guys are soooo lucky," enthuses Candy.
    "You crashed in the the Valley. It's the baddest place on Earth."
    An example of energetic, harmlessly nutty entertainment, Earth Girls Are Easy arrives just in time to warm up the fans for VCON-17, Vancouver's annual science fiction convention, being held May 26-28 [1989] at the University of B.C.'s Totem Park Centre.
    A stylish spoof, the picture's mood is right in tune with the convention's theme, Humour and Satire in Sci-Fi.

The above is a restored version of a Province review by Michael Walsh originally published in 1989. For additional information on this archived material, please visit my FAQ.

Afterword: Julie Brown wasn't the first to make fun of "Valspeak." Credit for that goes to Moon Unit Zappa, who spoke the lyrics on her father Frank Zappa's 1982 parody song Valley Girl. Nor was Brown the first to play a Valley girl in the movies. That distinction belongs to Deborah Foreman, who had the title role in director Martha Coolidge's Valley Girl, the 1983 comedy that borrowed its plot from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It was Brown, though, who emerged from the moment to become the pop culture personification of the vapid-yet-knowing stereotype with her songs and stage performances. She'd made her big screen debut in 1980 as a bit player in the Clint Eastwood comedy Any Which Way You Can. After seeing her perform in a comedy club, Lily Tomlin invited Brown to play a small role in her 1981 feature, The Incredible Shrinking Woman. In 1984, she visited Toronto for an appearance in Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment. Then, like Sylvester Stallone's emergence a decade earlier with Rocky, she wrote her own breakthrough role: Candy Pink in Earth Girls Are Easy. Though she never became a big star, she did establish herself as a talented writer and producer, later making her debut as a director. In 1995, she was a featured performer in director Amy Heckerling's Clueless, a Valley girl adaptation of Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma. Brown reprised her Coach Millie role in 15 episodes of Heckerling's Clueless TV series (1996-1999). Behind the camera, she produced 24 of the show's half-hour episodes, wrote eight and directed one. Julie Brown celebrates her 57th birthday today (August 31). VCON, the science fiction convention mentioned in the above review, marks its 40th edition on October 2, 2015.