He’s My Girl

He’s My Girl is just about as bad as you’d think a movie with that title would be. Maybe worse.

At some point, the screenwriter who originally sat down and conceived the thing may have had honorable intentions: Gender-confusion farce is one of the oldest dramatic forms, right? But the script has passed through the mill—there are four different writers credited—and has become pretty degraded in the process. (There’s a lesson, here, somewhere; the more persons handle a screenplay, the less personality it has.)

The basic idea is creaky enough. A small-time rock singer (David Hallyday) and his equally small-time manager (T.K. Carter) hit it big by winning a trip to Los Angeles to meet a dissipated rock star. But, for reasons never quite explained, Hallyday is required to bring his “girlfriend,” not just a pal.

But Carter really, really wants to go. So he adopts a drag costume, which will allow him to pass as a woman and will cause many supposedly amusing complications in L.A.

Don’t make me go into details. The film flops around from one predictable situation to the next, under some appalling directing by Gabrielle Beaumont, though in this case “direction” may be a misleading term, since the movie seems to be utterly out of control.

In a situation like that, you watch the actors for something, anything. Surprisingly enough, the least offensive thing here is Carter’s drag act, which at least has some lowdown exuberance. Hallyday is terrible, stiff and lifeless.

Most embarrassing is David Clennon, a heretofore respectable actor (Meryl Streep’s husband in Falling in Love, for crying out loud—how much more respectable can you get?), who really goes over the top as the music executive who sponsored the contest. Most mysterious is Jennifer Tilly, who plays Hallyday’s waitress girlfriend. I assume she’s Meg Tilly’s sister, but she has her own oddball delivery; 25 years ago they would have called her “kooky.”

First published in the Herald, September 1987

Just another two-hour chunk of time to peel off the lifespan. I don’t remember it. T.K. Carter and David Clennon were in The Thing; Clennon was on the verge of going minimalist with his Hall of Fame performance in thirtysomething; Beaumont directed a huge amount of TV. David Hallyday is the son of French rock star Johnny Hallyday, a real icon in France and a more interesting movie presence than his son.

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