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Rick Richards is a helicopter pilot who wants to set up a charter flying service in Hawaii -- along the way he makes some friends, including a young Hawaiian girl and her father, romances Judy Hudson, and sings a few songs. Written by
Michael C. Berch <email@example.com>
When Elvis is piloting the helicopter, interior shots show the woman and the dogs blocking his view and hampering the flight. In the same scene with the helicopter coming toward the camera, it's easy to see the pilot is alone. See more »
Boring plot, sub par songs, and it's obvious Elvis knows it
Watch this and you'll realize how the British Invasion was able to so successfully take place. Elvis, whose rebelliously suggestive style of singing/dancing had earned him a top place on every RnR chart and every mother's blacklist, was now reduced to charmingly bland duets with little girls and listlessly barreling through his roles as singing pilot, copter, race car driver, etc. To say much goes on in this is an understatement, because not much DOES go on. It's easy to confuse this with the similarly-titled "Blue Hawaii," but as meh-meh as I found BH, well, let's just say BH at least has some semblance of a plot and a bit of that Elvis enthusiasm to make up for it.
In "Paradise, Hawaiian Style," there's lots of easy women (as usual) he has his play/business transactions with, the family-oriented friend and co-copter, some minor issues resulting in a license revoking (as usual, nicely resolved by the end) and an overwhelming amount of screen time devoted to the lovely scenery and native Hawaiian culture. That's about it. I even forgot his character's name in this, because it's so easy just to think "Okay, Elvis is singing in a helicopter to a bunch of sedated dogs with that one woman, now Elvis is visiting this other woman's folks and they're all shaking their hulas..."
As other reviews have mentioned, he is noticeably heavier here. We all know he was a tad sensitive when it came to his weight, but one can't deny the sleek Elvis has a slight "extra" here - this and "Clambake" shows us the movie Elvis at his heaviest (and, I'd argue, depressed) before shrinking to his smallest for the '68 Special. But what was most perceptible was his face, which had "bored" quietly written all over it. And who wouldn't be with the lukewarm script, the lame bar fight and the many scene excuses for a song? I think I would have fallen asleep if I didn't find his sleepwalking more interesting to watch.
There were a few instances where he seemed to rush through the philandering scenes and songs. As an avid fan, even I found some of the numbers (all with that "Hawaiian" sound but ultimately just sounding like stock music) to be forgettable. Perhaps that might not have been the case if it hadn't been for the random excuses they made to throw them in (Scratch My Back and Stop Where You Are), but maybe that's just me and my guilty pleasure in silly Elvis songs (besides, the laugh tracks from his movie songs are hilarious to listen to). As it is, Parker handled the helm and his star client suffered as a result.
Elvis could have made many great movies, but only a scant handful - the exceptions of 14 years of drivel - can be called great or even watchably good. Don't see "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" if you want a credible performance: you'll want to turn around sleepily and not come back. Go for "King Creole," "Follow That Dream," "Flaming Star," "Jailhouse Rock" or, if more Hawaiian scenery is what you'd prefer, "Blue Hawaii."
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