Millionaire Harvey Huntington Honeywagon III tries to prove to his colleague Vivian Clements that his chimp, Clyde, is more intelligent than American teenagers. Meanwhile Dee Dee is torn between Frankie and British recording star, the Potato Bug. Eric Von Zipper shows up to aid Harvey's anti-teen campaign. Big Drag shows up with others in a gag bit part. Written by
Finally! Annette is Smart, Sexy and Slightly Dangerous.
We red-blooded males who followed Annette Funicello's career from the time she was a nubile Mousketeer will be especially enamored of "Bikini Beach," a superior entry in the, admittedly, mediocre "Beach Party" series. For once, Annette gets to play smart, sexy and slightly dangerous, possessing more than a passing interest in sex. Gone, thank goodness, is her usual "Doris Day with mild PMS" persona. I have a strong suspicion this is closer to the "real" Annette, here. I certainly hope so. Even Annette's singing is very good. I wish AIP would've sprung for the bucks to give "Bikini" better choreography. Annette, a trained dancer would have impressed even more. Annette's swimsuit is even more revealing than usual, about as close to a bikini as "Papa Disney" would allow her to wear.
While the script, as usual, plays as if it were cribbed from the back of a cereal box, the gentle ribbing of British rock stars, modern art and drag racing are a welcome change from the usual "Beach Party" dross. Martha Hyer is along and provides some classy, mature-sexy glamor. "Bikini" even has a cameo by a very young Stevie Wonder. While Frankie Avalon won't win any acting awards, his alter-ego, "Potato Bug" is certainly a less annoying character than Mike Meyers' execrable "Austin Powers". Even Don Rickles is along, playing a character named "Big Drag," a gentle pun on Don "Big Daddy" Garlits, a well-known drag racer and auto customizer of the era. Too bad, Rickles doesn't get to cut lose with his usual wise guy humor. Guess AIP was too cheap to spring for that.
While no work of art, "Bikini Beach" is more than just watchable. It's actually, at times, enjoyable. I give "Bikini Beach" a weak "6".
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