Saturday 20 February 2021

Movie Review: Don't Make Waves (1967)

A comedy with plenty of romantic entanglements, Don't Make Waves is frivolous and rarely funny.

Carlo Cofield (Tony Curtis) is driving across the United States to a new start in California. On the outskirts of Los Angeles he accidentally tangles with aspiring artist Laura (Claudia Cardinale) and loses all his possessions. Out of pity she invites him to sleep at her beach house, where Carlo finds out Laura is the mistress of swimming pool company executive Rod Prescott (Robert Webber).

An enterprising type, Carlo quickly finagles a job with Prescott and meets his wife Diane (Joanna Barnes). He mingles with the beach community of muscle heads and beach bunnies, and is immediately smitten by Malibu (Sharon Tate), a sky diver and the girlfriend of bodybuilder Harry (David Draper). Carlo also secures a suspiciously cheap dream beach house of his own and a Rolls Royce as he sets out to win Malibu's heart, but much trouble lies ahead.

A flimsy celebration and satire of the Los Angeles beach community, Don't Make Waves features plenty of talent engaged in embarrassing antics. Tony Curtis, Claudia Cardinale and director Alexander Mackendrick are all much better than this dross, and they don't come close to saving an inert script (somehow three writers are involved) adapting the Ira Wallach book Muscle Beach.

The attempts at humour include the excitable Laura frequently breaking into frantic Italian, and Carlo demonstrating a remarkable ability to sell swimming pools to whoever does not need one. But he is still dumb enough to swim among a gaggle of surf boards, earning a deserved bonk on the head, and he does not think to ask any questions when an idyllic house falls into his lap at seemingly no cost (the house later reveals its faults in a non sequitur climax).

Meanwhile Sharon Tate, in the first of her films to be released, is reduced to a bikini-clad sex pot with hardly any lines of dialogue. Mackendrick repeatedly lingers on her body in a distasteful display of juvenile salaciousness, although almost everyone here is shirtless for long stretches.

Rod is possessive of Laura, who imagines a romance with Carlo, who lusts after Malibu and uses an astrologer to convince her dim boyfriend Harry sex is bad for his bodybuilding. And with this level of ineptitude, Don't Make Waves sinks without a trace.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

1 comment:

  1. I’d say the reviewer doesn’t get it. It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be: silly, frivolous, goofy. It wasn’t trying to be anything else. It’s a wonderful window into what Southern California looked like before all of the grotesque land development. And the music fits perfectly.


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