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  How to Stuff a Wild Bikini Sand In The Sandwiches
Year: 1965
Director: William Asher
Stars: Annette Funicello, Dwayne Hickman, Beverly Adams, Mickey Rooney, Harvey Lembeck, Brian Donlevy, Frankie Avalon, John Ashley, Buster Keaton, Jody McCrea, Marianne Gaba, Irene Tsu, Len Lesser, Michael Nader, Elizabeth Montgomery
Genre: Musical, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Frankie (Frankie Avalon) is in the Navy, stationed on a Pacific island and enjoying the local hospitality. But he gets to thinking about his girlfriend Dee Dee (Annette Funicello) back home - will she be unfaithful to him? As a preventative measure, he gets witch doctor Bwana (Buster Keaton) to conjure up a girl who all the other guys will instantly be besotted with, therefore leaving Dee Dee alone, and it works - at first...

The last of the Frankie and Annette A.I.P. Beach Party movies was in many ways the most cheerfully idiotic of the lot, and that's saying something. Written by the director William Asher and Leo Townsend, it has all the right elements, with the atttractive girls and guys, the beach location, the sun beating down, Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) as the party-goers' would-be nemesis, inane songs, wacky sound effects, and aging has-been guest stars, all present and correct.

Ah, but you can tell that the end of the line is looming, because all is not quite right. For a start, Frankie and Annette don't meet until the final scene, so all the requisite jealousy has to be taken care of long distance. Dee Dee finds a new suitor by the name of Ricky (Dwayne Hickman), who has been cast as the boy next door for an ad campaign led by Peachy Keane (Mickey Rooney) and B.D. (Brian Donlevy). Now all they need is a girl next door and Cassandra (Beverly Adams), the lady conjured up by Bwana, fits the bill.

One thing you can't help but notice about Annette here, apart from her overdoing it with the blue eyeshadow, is that she is never seen in a bikini, due to her real-life pregnancy at the time. However, it looks as if, by this stage, she has said she never wants to wear another bikini as long as she lives and if she never sees a bikini again it will be too soon. As a result, she looks frumpy and makes no effort to join in with the usual gang - they might as well have cast Doris Day instead.

It's not the worst of the Beach Party movies, maybe because they were so desperate for ideas that it reaches new heights of silliness. The potion that made Cassandra, Bwana tells us, has been mixed with the wrong ingredients, which means she is incredibly clumsy - cue lots of laboured slapstick. Perhaps it's the production, but most of the sugary songs sound the same, even the ones sung by Lembeck and Rooney, but at least you get to see what the Kingsmen look like.

The most ridiculous feature is that the absent Frankie (who looks like he filmed his stuff in one day) is represented by a magic pelican who follows Dee Dee around. You may notice some double standards here: why is it alright for Frankie to lounge around on a tropical beach with a dusky maiden when Annette must remain chaste? When she gets the chance to visit Ricky's Japanese-styled bachelor pad one night, she takes one sip of cola and abruptly leaves for yet more unconvincing back-projection walking down the beach. Oh well, How To Stuff A Wild Bikini may be an innocent relic of a bygone age, but there's a measure of camp fun to be had, even if the surfing has been replaced by motorcycling. Music by Les Baxter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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