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Talent agent Lionel Devereaux sells his girlfriend/client Carmen Novarro to New York City's famous Copacabana nightclub as a Latin-American singer/dancer and, pressed for another act, he sells her again, this time with a blonde wig and Moroccan veil, as a French singer...for the same presentation. The wear and tear on Carmen, changing back-and-forth between numbers, leaves to a heated exchange of words between the performer and her fiancé agent. This leads to the disappearance of Carmen's alter ego, which arouses suspicions by the management...and the police. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The talent act of Deveraux (Groucho) and Novarro (Carmen Miranda) fizzles. So, Deveraux takes on the role of Novarro's "agent" in a bid to coax the Copa manager, played by Steve Cochran, to hire Novarro as a hot Brazilian number. But Cochran is interested only in credible agents, those with multiple clients. Naturally Groucho invents Mlle. Fifi as a second client. The thing is ... Groucho only has Novarro. So, who else to play the role of Mlle. Fifi than ... Novarro. The main plot line thus centers on Groucho and Carmen in their efforts to fool the club manager, by covertly alternating Carmen's on-stage roles.
It's a dumb, silly story. But Groucho delivers enough funny one-liners and clever quips to make his part interesting. And lively, breezy Carmen Miranda, with that unique style of dancing and singing, entertains with style and panache. The silly storyline alternates with staged floor shows, which overflow with music and Latin atmosphere. The costumes are interesting, but the B&W cinematography does not do them justice.
The film quickly becomes dull, especially in the middle Act, when Groucho and Carmen go off-screen. Too much time is wasted on a romantic subplot between Cochran's character and his secretary Anne, played without feeling by Gloria Jean. We also have to endure, and I do mean endure, the "talent" of someone named Andy Russell. That smarmy smile of his makes me want to jump off the nearest cliff.
This film will probably disappoint most Groucho fans, as he is but one of several that get major screen time. Steve Cochran, Gloria Jean, Andy Russell, and a few others just are not in Groucho's league. Carmen Miranda is, and whenever she is singing or dancing, the film is entertaining.
If you can ignore all the extraneous characters and focus on Groucho and Carmen, "Copacabana" can be worth a one-time visit.
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