Bikini Beach1964

Director: William Asher
Stars: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Martha Hyer, Don Rickles, Harvey Lembeck
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Romance
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 99 minutes

Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello's third summer at the beach reunites the old gang (Jody McCrea, John Ashley, Candy Johnson--who once again shimmies through the credits--and Harvey Lembeck as the buffoonish motorcycle gang leader Eric von Zipper) for more summer sun antics. Frankie plays two roles: the sex mad surfer still chasing comely Annette (renamed Dee Dee in this film) and a British singing sensation named Potato Bug, who moves the gang from the beach to the blacktop for a little drag-strip action. The goofy, gap-toothed rocker is supposed to be a spoof of The Beatles but more resembles Terry-Thomas with his pith helmet and "jolly good!" exclamations. While Annette sidles next to Potato Bug to instill the necessary undercurrent of jealousy to set the mood, Keenan Wynn provides the slimmest excuse of a plot as a rest home tycoon with a pet ape that surfs, twists, and drives dragsters with the best of them. It's even sillier than the first two, with a plot that dissolves halfway through and a slapstick fueled, pie-fight finale. It shows every sign of having been quickly cobbled together and loses some of the energy and charm of Beach Party, but it's still a giddy little slice of 1960s surf and sex innocence. "Little" Stevie Wonder makes a late appearance and Boris Karloff drops by for a cameo. --Sean Axmaker

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