The last work completed by Alexander Mackendrick before ditching filmmaking for film-teaching at the California Institute of the Arts. No sooner has East Coast salesman Tony Curtis hit sandy Malibu than he's lost all his worldly possessions in a smooth bit of slapstick triggered by comely Italian klutz Claudia Cardinale. Sort of an older, mellower Sidney Falco from Sweet Smell of Success, Curtis wastes no time worming his way into the payroll of Cardinale's sugar daddy, oily swimming pool impresario Robert Webber, and schmoozing with beach dwellers -- most notably vapid bikini odalisque Sharon Tate, his obscure object of desire. Boasting less smarm and a cannier mise en scène than such '60s Curtis leerfests as Sex and the Single Girl or Not With My Wife You Don't!, it's a generally likable satire of beachfront hedonism, faddish astrology and Californian vacuity-as-innocence. Not enough is done with aged Edgar Bergen's gnomish cameo and the bungalow-tottering-atop-the-mud-mountain climax is a metaphor gone unexplored, but Mackendrick, tempering his usual cynicism, keeps the tone casual, with agreeable bits (David Draper's sweet-tempered musclehead) and a pre-Man Show appreciation of girls jumping on trampolines. With Joanna Barnes, Mort Sahl, and Jim Backus.
--- Fernando F. Croce