Taglines: A funny thing happened on the way to the bus station.
Nikki Finn is a carefree young woman, who is always dressed in a leather jacket and skirt, with fire-red lips, platinum bob hair and speaking in a high-pitched voice. One day, her boyfriend Johnny uncovers two men stealing money out of a trust fund and takes pictures of the theft. Johnny puts the pictures in a safety deposit box and gives Nikki the key for safekeeping. The thieves catch Johnny and murder him, then frame Nikki by putting his body into the trunk of her car. Nikki is sentenced to seven years in prison. This is seen during the animated opening credits of the movie.
After four years, the story presents tax attorney Loudon Trott (Griffin Dunne) on a busy day. He is getting married to the daughter of one of the richest men in New York, Simon Worthington. Loudon’s bride Wendy Worthington (Haviland Morris) is a selfish woman who is more consumed in her wedding plans than in the well-being of her fiancé. Loudon, on the other hand, has a number of duties entrusted to him by his boss (and future father-in-law), Mr. Worthington (John McMartin). First he has to pick up a cougar for an exotic animal activist named Montgomery Bell (John Mills), then to pick up Nikki, and lastly he has to make sure that Nikki catches the next bus to her hometown of Philadelphia.
Nikki, meanwhile, is determined to catch the actual thieves and bring forth the truth. After meeting Loudon, Nikki cons him into taking her shopping. After taking a Rolls Royce into Harlem to buy a gun – and nearly being arrested during a police raid – she explains her story to Loudon who believes that she is innocent, and decides to help her. She’s also on the run from a pimp named Raoul (Coati Mundi) and his lackey Benny (Dennis Burkley), the people who killed Johnny. Only after dangling off a car smashed through the top floor of a parking garage, does he tell her the bank and the box number of Nikki’s slain boyfriend.
Afterward Nikki vanishes with the cougar (whom she names “Murray”). Loudon visits Mr. Bell to apologize for losing the animal, to find Nikki had delivered Murray and was waiting for him at Mr. Bell’s home. He has created a Brazilian rainforest filled with animals on top of his roof. There Nikki and Loudon — who had become close with each other on their journey — express their love for each other, and Murray finds a partner.
Who’s That Girl is a 1987 American screwball comedy film written by Andrew Smith and Ken Finkleman, and directed by James Foley. It stars Madonna and Griffin Dunne, and depicts the story of a street-smart girl who is falsely accused of murdering her boyfriend and is sent to jail. After getting released, she meets a man, who is supposed to make sure she gets on her bus back to Philadelphia, and convinces him to help her catch those responsible for her confinement. While searching for the embezzler, they fall in love with each other.
After the failure of her 1986 film Shanghai Surprise, Madonna decided to sign another comedy film titled Slammer, which was later renamed to Who’s That Girl. However, she had to convince both Warner Bros. and the producers of the film that she was ready for the project. Madonna enlisted her friend James Foley to direct the film. Shooting began in New York in October 1986, and continued until March 1987. Production was halted during December due to snowfall in New York. Madonna utilized the time to work on her next tour and the soundtrack of the film.
The film was released on August 7, 1987, and was a box office bomb, grossing only $2.5 million in its first week, with its final domestic total being about $7.3 million. Critics were highly disappointed with the film, and Foley’s direction. Some went on to call it one of the worst films to be released, while others found Madonna’s comic timing to be one of the highlights.
Who’s That Girl (1987)
Directed by: James Foley
Starring: Madonna, Griffin Dunne, Haviland Morris, John McMartin, Bibi Besch, John Mills, Robert Swan, Drew Pillsbury, Cecile Callan, Karen Elise Baldwin, Kimberlin Brown, Crystal Carson
Screenplay by: Andrew Smith
Production Design by: Ida Random
Cinematography by: Jan de Bont
Film Editing by: Pembroke J. Herring
Costume Design by: Deborah Lynn Scott
Set Decoration by: Cloudia Rebar
Art Direction by: Donald B. Woodruff
Music by: Stephen Bray
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: August 7, 1987