The Girl Can't Help It (1956)

girlIf you’re willing to deal with the pre-requisite fifties camp that comes along with this hyper energetic romance musical, then “The Girl Can’t Help It” is pretty much the lightning in the bottle that is the ethereal beauty of Jayne Mansfield. A classic story of the underdog pushed in to becoming a star, “The Girl Can’t Help It” is a wonky romance comedy that stars the immortal Mansfield as the innocent Jerri Jordan, a long leggy, busty, pouty, soft spoken gal seeking only happiness. Pushed in to becoming a star by her dictator soon to be husband Fats Murdock, he insists she become a big music star so he can have something to like about her. Aside from the fact she’s sweet, endearing, intelligent, can cook, is faithful, and insanely beautiful, he just wants to turn her in to a music star and live vicariously through her.

The story isn’t as dramatic as it sounds even though in its core it’s a love tale. Frank Tashlin’s fifties time capsule features performances from major rock stars including Little Richard and Gene Vincent, all of whom act as buffers to keep the audiences attention as Mansfield’s own charisma and sexual appeal is put on display. The bonafide blond bombshell is a somewhat adorable woman who only wants to settle down and start a family, but has no other recourse but to follow the rules of her soon to be fiance Fats Murdock.  Tom Ewell plays Tom Miller, a man haunted by his romantic past with a big singer, who is assigned to turn Jordan in to an instant star. As you can imagine he begins to fall in love with her as she reveals herself to be anything but a dumb blond interested in stardom.

“The Girl Can’t Help It” has a lively energy to it with a rocking soundtrack and some genuinely hilarious comic bits including Jordan’s failure to hit a high note that destroys a light bulb. And of course there’s the classic sequence of Mansfield walking through a neighborhood drawing the eyes of every man she comes across who manage to melt ice at her presence and squeeze the life out of a glass milk bottle.  Never taking itself seriously, Tashlin knows what the intent of the film is so he bends reality on some occasions and breaks the fourth wall with a preamble that’s quite funny and sets the tone for the quick pacing and understated charm of Mansfield whose introduction is very subtle but eye catching nevertheless.

There’s also a slew of double entendres thrown our way upon the second meeting of Miller and Jordan who take a considerable liking to one another flirting through puns and zingers hinting at their obvious attraction to one another. Though the drama between Jordan and Miller amps up considerably as their emotions grow for one another, Tashlin never drops the hip tone and slick atmosphere keeping the musical acts coming every twenty minutes or so with some truly excellent tunes. “The Girl Can’t Help It” is a sweet little fifties gem that should be viewed for the endearing tale and of course, who doesn’t love Ms. Mansfield? With a slick score, a groovy soundtrack, a fun atmosphere and the one and only Mansfield, “The Girl Can’t Help It” is a fun little musical worth watching if only for the fantastic theme song by Little Richard.