Labor Day retro-review: The Flamingo Kid
TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: 1984's The Flamingo Kid, starring Matt Dillon and Janet Jones. Directed by Garry Marshall.
THE PLOT: Jeffrey Willis (Dillon) is a blue-collar kid who gets a job as a cabana boy at a ritzy beach club for the summer, where he falls in love with Carla (Jones) -- a girl definitely not in his social class. But playing gin is what gets him in tight with all the right people, much to the dismay of his dad, who has worked hard to send him to college.
MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: Jeffrey's dad is played by Hector Elizondo, who appears in nearly every Garry Marshall film (Pretty Woman, Exit to Eden and a bunch more.)
SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: Bronson Pinchot, aka Balki/Surge, has a small supporting role as one of Jeffrey's well-off friends.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID: "Dillon has the kind of acting intelligence that allows him to play each scene for no more than that particular scene is really about; he's not trying to summarize the message in every speech. That gives him an ease, an ability to play the teenage hero as if every day were a whole summer long." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
WHY WE STILL LOVE IT: Because it ends on the final weekend of summer, it essentially is the ultimate '80s Labor Day movie. Janet Jones isn't a naturally gifted actress, but here she doesn't stand in the way of an otherwise excellent story. Ultimately, it is a love story, but not between Jeffrey and Carla, but rather between a boy and his dad.