Back to the Beach | Chicago Reader

Back to the Beach

Rated PG 92 minutes 1987

Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello get down and sandy one more time in this first feature by transplanted Australian Lyndall Hobbs. Some image deflation early, as the Big Kahuna and his polka-dot-addled wife send up their sunny 60s selves and holy American familyhood with surprising satiric bite, though Hobbs (and producer Frank Mancuso Jr., whose junk sensibility seems to rule) spends the rest of the film backing away from the opening minutes' subversion: father ultimately knows best, and mom too, and the only thing that matters is flattering familiar memories with a kindly conventional hand. It's the kind of embalming exercise best left to the sentimental sage of Bexley, Ohio—safe, sophomoric, regressive—though Hobbs does a passable job of simulating the ragged old beach-movie style (the calculatedly grainy color is by ace cinematographer Bruce Surtees), and Pee-wee Herman provides a brief respite from nostalgia overload with some energetic “Bird, Oh” weirdness. With Lori Loughlin, Tommy Hinkley, Demian Slade, Connie Stevens, and cameos by Don Adams, Bob Denver, and others.

Film Credits

Director: Lyndall Hobbs

Producer: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello and Frank Mancuso Jr.

Cast: Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, Connie Stevens, Lori Loughlin, Tommy Hinkley, Demian Slade, Don Adams, Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, Barbara Billingsley, Edd Byrnes, Pee-Wee Herman and Dick Dale

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