mr right

Making Mr. Right

Making Mr. Right (1987) is a science fiction/comedy film, directed by Susan Seidelman and starring John Malkovich as Jeff Peters/Ulysses and Ann Magnuson as Frankie Stone.

This film is primarily about an android and a woman's misadventures.


In the film a scientist, Jeff Peters, is a cold and emotionally repressed intellectual who cannot stand other people due to their intellectual inferiority to him. His dream is deep space exploration, which would be problematic for a human because of the total cutoff from human contact for long periods of time. He develops the Ulysses android (which looks exactly like him) for the purpose of studying phenomena in space, since an android would not be affected by the isolation.

Frankie Stone is hired to do public relations for the project. As a part of her job, she must get to know the android better, in order to "humanize" him for the benefit of the project's sponsors in Congress. However, in his interaction with her, the android develops emotions and develops better social skills than the scientist himself. At one point he impersonates Jeff in order to leave the laboratory, and stows away in Frankie's car. In a wild sequence of events he encounters human society at a shopping mall, buys a tuxedo, goes on a date with a woman who thinks he is Jeff, reducing her to an emotional wreck, and then loses his head (literally) over Frankie's best friend Trish who has taken refuge in Frankie's apartment after walking out on her husband.

Frankie also develops feelings for the android and befriends Jeff on a lesser level. Frankie's mother, having seen Ulysses, assumes he is Frankie's boyfriend and expects Frankie to bring him to the wedding of Frankie's sister in Miami Beach. Frankie persuades Jeff to impersonate Ulysses, but Ulysses again absconds from the lab and gatecrashes the wedding. Comedic confusion ensues, with Trish assuming Jeff is Ulysses. When Ulysses short-circuits and crashes into the swimming pool, the occasion turns into a public relations disaster. Frankie is fired from her job and forbidden contact with Ulysses or any other part of the project. She attempts to say goodbye on launch day by using her connections with a former client and boyfriend, a candidate for Congress, but all she sees of Ulysses is when he makes his farewell speech, in which he bemoans the tendency of humans to enter into tragic emotional relationships.

Eventually, Jeff decides to go into space while the android takes his place on Earth so Ulysses and Frankie (who by now are deeply in love) can be together. Due to his lack of social skills, Jeff realizes that the lack of human contact will not be a hardship for him. It becomes clear that Ulysses' final speech was actually made by Jeff, who has realized he cannot deal with people.


As with her previous film "Desperately Seeking Susan", Seidelman paints a background of "tacky" American consumerism. Most of the characters, especially the men, are self-absorbed and materialist. Frankie's sister is attempting to rebel against their social-climber mother, but the extent of her revolt seems to be a refusal to shave her armpits. The wedding itself is a monument to tackiness, with atrociously overdone bridesmaids dresses, a gluttonous buffet at the reception, and a classic "lounge lizard" dance band. The phoniness is underlined when the happy couple have their photographs taken in front of a backcloth decorated with palm trees and a beach, when the real background is actually a palm-fringed beach.

Although the action takes place in Florida, New Jersey is present as a soap opera of that name where virile gardeners seduce women both rich and poor. The tag line of the show is "New Jersey, it's not just a State, it's a state of mind". For Seidelman, New Jersey is the grotesque consumerist backdrop for her urban sensibility.

Although Frankie falls in love with Ulysses, and he with her, as shown by his sending her extravagant gifts using money he embezzles from the laboratory, he is not ideal. Although a fully functional man, he tends to collapse in the heat of the moment. Frankie's friend thinks she has killed him when, while they attempting to have sex, his head comes loose. Fortunately Frankie has seen Jeff use the reset button in Ulysses's neck, and is able to reboot him. This repeats in the final scene where Ulysses collapses after kissing Frankie, but this time Frankie revives him with a slap to the cheek. The subtext here seems to be that an ideal man may be one who can be reset (and by implication, switched off) when required.

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