Fun in Acapulco (1963)

Elsa Cardenas and Elvis Presley in Fun in Acapulco (1963)

Elvis is Going Loco Down in Acapulco

It's no wonder that Elvis Presley got disillusioned and cheesed off with his movie career when he was given the likes of "Fun in Acapulco" to make. It is quite literary devoid of just about anything of real interest. There is a love triangle between Mike, Marguerita and Delores which is basically fluff, not even complex enough to be a messy love triangle, whilst the back story, the mystery as to why Mike has found himself in Acapulco and fearing the high dive is so under worked it is pointless, especially when it should have delivered an emotional climax.

Having lost his job working on a boat when the owners spoilt daughter gets him fired, Mike Windgren (Elvis Presley - It Happened at the World's Fair) finds himself befriended by cheeky street kid Raoul (Larry Domasin - The Rare Breed) who with his various cousins working all over Acapulco talks Mike into letting him manage his singing career. With his help Mike finds work as a life guard and singer at a local hotel much to the annoyance of current lifeguard Moreno (Alejandro Rey) who feels threatened by his presence, and also finds himself caught between the advances of the beautiful Marguerita Dauphin (Ursula Andress - Dr. No) and the fiery Dolores Gomez (Elsa Cardenas). But Mike also struggles with his secret past which haunts him when he see Moreno diving from great heights.

Elvis Presley and Ursula Andress in Fun in Acapulco (1963)

The trouble with "Fun In Acapulco" is that it basically lacks atmosphere, tension and passion let alone a real storyline which means that it trades on one thing and that is Elvis Presley. From his swivelling hips, his wonderful voice and brooding good looks everything about Elvis is pushed to the forefront of the movie. Which also means that in a movie which is not overly long at 97 minutes features 10 musical scenes where Elvis gets to sing, often something rather cheap and unmemorable. I am sure that fans of Elvis will find some pleasure in all this musical intervention but with so many of them being rather tacky and forgettable it really causes "Fun in Acapulco" to be less than fun.

All of which is a shame as there are glimpses and I do mean glimpses of what Elvis was capable of when given some acting to do, most of which revolves around his friendship with the young Raoul. You even get a sense that Elvis got more from acting with the young Larry Domasin who played Raoul than any other part of the movie. But sadly those moments are kept to a minimum preferring to play on Elvis's looks, surroundings and bikini clad babes. Although that is another sticking point as Elvis never went to Mexico to film this, with most of it done on sound stages. That means we get Elvis stuck in-between some less than effective stage scenery which is then mixed in with a bunch of scenic shots actually taken down in Mexico and it really is not convincing.

What also seems to be the case with Elvis movies we get the handful of recognizable faces with the stunningly gorgeous Ursula Andress playing one of the women in the love triangle Marguerita Dauphin which is about as underwritten a character as you can get. As is the equally attractive Elsa Cardenas as female bullfighter Dolores Gomez. Plus there is the addition of Paul Lukas as Marguerita's father the chef. But other than the women adding their beauty and a little acting skill to the movie there is little else which is noteworthy of their performances.

But the best performance comes from the young Larry Domasin who as the cheeky Raoul Almeido becomes Mike's friend and manager. It's such a naturally cheeky performance which grabs your attention especially as the bond between him and Elvis feels surprisingly real. It's just a shame that those scenes which see Elvis come to life in Domasin's presence are pretty much sidelined for the fake musical interjections.

What this all boils down to is "Fun in Acapulco" is a movie for the die hard Elvis fans, who will enjoy the numerous musical interludes which cover up the lack of real plot. But for those who wish to see whether Elvis can act or not well he is poorly serviced in this no brainer of a movie and ends up getting little chance to show what he could do when it comes to drama and a good storyline.