John Malkovich Plays an Android and its Maker in Woman-led Feminist Rom-com
DIRECTED BY SUSAN SEIDELMAN/1987
BLU-RAY STREET DATE: MARCH 7, 2023/KL STUDIO CLASSICS
New to Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics, filmmaker Susan Seidelman’s (Desperately Seeking Susan; Smithereens) 1987 rom-com Making Mr. Right. Inverting gender role norms of the time, the film stars John Malkovich in a duel role as a strange scientist and his doppelgänger android. Ann Magnuson plays the female lead, representing the film’s prominent feminist angle. In the video review below, David Blakeslee discusses the film as well as the Blu-ray’s bonus features. Stay tuned for the trailer…
In addition to what I’ve said in the video, it should be noted that Making Mr. Right gives John Malkovich free reign to show the comedic side of his performing range in a dual role as both a socially inept mad scientist and the uncanny android result of his experimentation. It was a relatively rare opportunity for him to play for laughs, especially in this era, when he was more typically cast in intense roles with heavy dramatic undertones. Of course he went on to really cut loose in that regard in Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich (1999), romping to memorable effect as he riffed off the brooding and eccentric public persona that he’d accrued over the course of the preceding dozen years in films like Con Air, Dangerous Liaisons, Empire of the Sun, Shadows and Fog, Of Mice and Men, Rounders, and The Sheltering Sky.
An excellent bonus supplement that I neglected to mention in the video is a joint commentary track with Seidelman and female lead actor Ann Magnuson in dialogue with each other. They do repeat a few anecdotes from their solo video interviews also included on the disc, but it’s still a treat to her both women look back fondly on their experiences from early in their respective careers.
A quick correction to the video… Making Mr. Right was released in 1987, not 1985 as I mistakenly stated above. Desperately Seeking Susan was director Susan Seidelman’s 1985 film, following up on Smithereens from 1982.