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  Fun in Acapulco Go Mexico
Year: 1963
Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Elvis Presley, Ursula Andress, Elsa Cárdenas, Paul Lukas, Larry Domasin, Alejandro Rey, Robert Carricart, Teri Hope, Marco López
Genre: Musical, Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Mike Windgren (Elvis Presley) has been hired to sail a yacht off the coast of Acapulco for a family of American tourists, but this morning he is more concerned that a motorboat packed with musicians - who are energetically playing - will wake up his clients. He persuades them to leave by guaranteeing that he will buy them all a drink, but it's too late, the teenage daughter Janie (Teri Hope) is on deck and making advances to Mike. She says she'll get him fired if he doesn't respond, but he values his job and heads off to the mainland for a break...

By the time of Fun in Acapulco, Elvis movies had settled into a formula that they would be reluctant to stray from, so there were the attractive women and the lightweight songs and it all came to the boil with a fistfight and Elvis getting the girl. The screenwriter here, Allan Weiss, was in some way responsible for setting this in stone for he scripted quite a few of these movies for the King of Rock 'n' Roll, and even the most dedicated fans had to admit that after the early sixties, these movies were never going to break any new ground.

Yet that can in its manner be oddly comfortable to watch as you know there will be no nasty surprises and nothing out of place. Here Elvis finds himself in a love triangle with a squandered Ursula Andress (playing displaced East European gentry Marguerita) and Elsa Cárdenas (playing lady bullfighter Dolores - worry not, we see no animal cruelty so she might as well have been playing a secretary). Mike loses his job on the yacht thanks to the spiteful machinations of that teen, and ends up as a lifeguard at a nearby hotel swimming pool - but he cannot bear to look at the highest diving board!

Why not? Well, Weiss has given Mike a spot of psychological depth in that there has been a tragedy in his past. He used to be a trapeze artist (cue stock footage-filled flashback) and there was a tragedy that involved him so he fled to Mexico. Can Mike overcome his new fear of heights? That's what we're supposed to be preoccupied with, but the presence of a young co-star reveals that this was an Elvis movie at least partly aimed at kids. He is Raoul (Larry Domasin) and he becomes Mike's manager in a spot of wish fulfilment for all the contemporary children watching.

There are songs, of course, but there's only one truly memorable one, "Bossa Nova Baby". Mike has another job as a nightclub performer at the hotel, which means we get to suffer through subpar tunes such as "The Bullfighter was a Lady" and "There's No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car", the usual timewasting sludge that Presley had to croon in these films. In fact it's painfully clear that Fun in Acapulco was strictly production line, and the star never went anywhere near Mexico, with an obvious double used for long shots and lots of back projection which fails to convince us that he is where he's supposed to be. And if we're intended to believe that Elvis did that dive at the end, well, the producers were taking us for fools. Not to worry, as a bit of fluff is all this really is.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Review Comments (1)
Posted by:
Andrew Pragasam
Date:
16 Jun 2008
  Totally formulaic fluff, but it's the kind of Elvis movie I grew up watching. Always nice to see Ursula even if, as you correctly say, she is completely wasted. Wish there were more King Creoles and Flaming Stars in Elvis' filmography. Oh, if only...
       


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