As far back as I can remember, musicals have played a pretty special place in my heart. There’s something about the theatricality and glamour of musicals like Grease, My Fair Lady, and Chicago that just holds me absolutely enthralled. I don’t love all musicals. There are some I just can’t suspend my disbelief for, like West Side Story (shocking, I know) and some just aren’t very good to begin with, 2009’s Nine. Well, I just watched a musical that, before this blog, I had never heard of called The Girl Can’t Help It, starring the voluptuous Jayne Mansfield, and while it was far from great or one of the best musicals that I’ve ever seen, it was still really quite good, and to all fans of 1950’s rock and roll and classic movie musicals, it comes highly recommended.
The Girl Can’t Help It is the story of a washed-up, alcoholic talent agent named Tom Miller (Tom Ewell). Tom is hired by a gangster to turn his beautiful, but talentless girlfriend Jerri (Jayne Mansfield) into a star. Romance brews between Tom and Jerri, and Tom must find a way to make her a big hit despite the fact that she’s literally tone deaf. Mixed between the plot of the film are musical numbers performed by some of the biggest names in 1950’s rock and roll like Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino, and the Platters. Actually, if this film hadn’t came out in the 1950’s, I would have said its approach to being a musical was incredibly post-modern since no one ever randomly breaks out into song. All of the musical performances are actually occurring naturally within the scene, usually as someone performing at a night club or bar. There’s one fantasy musical number but it is explicitly stated as being so.
I’ll keep this review short since lately all of my TV reviews have dragged on and on. I loved the sound track for this movie. It is a really good mix of white rock and roll artists with black R & B artists and some black rock artists like Little Richard. It was a legitimately funny movie and if you enjoy the more innocent times of older films, this one is probably right up your alley. Jayne Mansfield couldn’t act her way out of a wet paper bag, but I’ll be damned if she isn’t one of the most gorgeous women that I’ve ever seen. She’s a knock out. The movie wasn’t great, but it was still really good, and I can see myself watching it again at some point the future. I’m definitely trying to find its soundtrack.
Final Score: B