Gidget Goes Hawaiian (not rated)
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This is the sequel to Gidget. It came out in 1961, but I didn't see it until 2022, during my summer of beach movies. But it's not really a beach movie, at least not as much as the first movie. There is some surfing in it, and just a bit of water-skiing, but most of the action takes place away from the beach. So I decided the best category for my review would be "rom-coms". I gotta say, I wasn't sure how highly to rate the movie. I think some of the time I liked it slightly less than the original, and some of the time I liked it slightly more. So I just gave it the same rating as the original.
Gidget (now played by Deborah Walley) gets upset when her parents, Russ and Dorothy (who are also played by different actors than in the first film), tell her the three of them are going to Hawaii for a vacation. She doesn't want to spend the time away from her boyfriend, Moondoggie (still played by James Darren). But despite not wanting her to go, he tells her she should. Because he displays no disappointment about it, Gidget gets upset about that, and decides she wants to go to Hawaii, after all. On the plane, she befriends a girl named Abby Stewart, while her parents befriend Abby's parents, Monty and Mitzi. When talking with Abby about her relationship with Moondoggie, Gidget says something that Abby obviously misinterprets to mean they'd had sex, though Gidget remains oblivious to this misunderstanding. (That will come back to haunt her later.) Also on the plane are a famous dancer named Eddie Horner, and three other guys whose names aren't important to me, who attend college in Hawaii. All four guys take an interest in Abby, but don't yet meet Gidget. Abby is basically just interested in Eddie, but seems to enjoy the attention of the other guys, too.
Once they get to Hawaii, Gidget tries to avoid anything fun, especially the ocean, but Abby tries to get her to go out. Eventually she does so, and quickly attracts the attention of all four guys, especially Eddie, which makes Abby jealous (which of course Gidget seems oblivious to). Meanwhile, Gidget's father had sent a message to Moondoggie saying that Gidget was miserable, so he decides to hop on a plane and come to Hawaii, himself. When he catches Eddie kissing Gidget on the beach, he naturally gets upset, and later starts hanging out with Abby. And, well, lots of other stuff happens. And eventually, Abby starts a rumor about Gidget, based on her earlier misunderstanding on the plane. She makes it sound like Gidget has slept with several guys (though of course the movie never lets us explicitly hear words like "sex" or "slept with" or anything specific, we just have to infer that). The rumor gets back to Gidget's parents, who are concerned, and try to talk to her about it, and Gidget gets upset that they apparently believed the rumor (which they actually didn't). Anyway, this whole plot point bugged me, the way it's treated as so scandalous. I have to remind myself of the era in which the movie came out, but then a lot of people even today treat sex like it's something to be ashamed of. (Though this came out two years after the first movie, I guess it's set one year later, at which point Gidget would be about 18, so the age difference between her and Moondoggie wouldn't be as big a deal as I felt like it was in the first movie. Unless I'm mistaken and it takes place less than a year later, when Gidget's still 17, in which case they should have made an even bigger deal about the rumor.) But of course she hadn't had sex with anyone, because she's a "good girl". (Though she does have a few somewhat amusing fantasies about what it might be like if she weren't. Not about the act itself, but just... what she could be like.)
Whew. I went off on a bit of a tangent, there. But there's another humorous mix-up in which Gidget gets the impression that something might be going on between her parents and Abby's parents, and she tries to make sure her father and mother each fail to find out what the other has (possibly) been up to. (I can't help imagining the four of them being swingers, an idea that I find funny because of how ridiculous it is.) And everyone gets the impression that Gidget has gone missing, so they're all worried about her (including a couple of girls I haven't mentioned, whom Abby had befriended in Hawaii). But everything gets cleared up in the end, and of course Gidget and Moondoggie get back together. And later, Gidget finds a way to punish Abby for what she'd done, though I felt like the punishment actually went too far. (It played on an apparent phobia, which isn't funny, as the movie makes it out to be.) And I dunno what else to say. I think I've already said too much, anyway. But despite some of the problems I had with it (and I haven't even gotten into the inherently problematic nature of tourism exploiting other cultures), I did find parts of the movie kind of amusing.
Followed by "Gidget Goes to Rome"