A trip to the recent past (1963), as though to a very strange place. And indeed the filmmakers trot out some truly horrible dresses, swimsuits, dance steps — but also some still irresistible pop songs: "Stand by Me," "Just One Look," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "One Fine Day," "Heat Wave." Matt Dillon, in his willingness to be implicated in the general geekiness, is better than usual, as a summer car-parker at a Long Island beach club, who soon moves up to cabana boy and sees the sky as the limit. Richard Crenna is less surprisingly good as the vaunty nouveau riche and "psychic" gin-rummy player (or ought that to be "psychotic"?) who takes Dillon under his tutorial wing. Hector Elizondo, as the boy's neglected father and upright Brooklyn plumber, holds his own, too, even in (or especially in) his one scene opposite Crenna. This unassuming little comedy starts to get assuming, however, with its Cincinnati Kid climax and its Aesop-like moral lesson. It was just sneaking by as it was. (And by the way, it was a funny idea to have Crenna, when showing off his TV remote-control channel-changer, click onto a younger version of himself in The Real Mccoys, but the snippet from Hitchcock's Spellbound has been misidentified in the final credits as coming from his Notorious.) Directed by Garry Marshall. (1984) — Duncan Shepherd
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