Waikiki Wedding is a lightweight 1937 Bing Crosby musical. And when I say lightweight I mean lightweight. It’s still quite fun.
Musicals don’t require much in the way of plot which is just as well since this movie has a plot that is about as thin as could possibly be imagined.
Tony Marvin (Crosby) is a lazy but brilliant advertising man whose latest brainwave is the Pineapple Girl promotion for the Hawaii-based International Pineapple Company. The Pineapple Girl gets lots of money and a free trip to Hawaii. All she has to do is pose for pictures with pineapples and write a newspaper column telling how she found fun and romance in Hawaii. The only trouble is that Pineapple Girl Georgia Smith (Shirley Ross) hasn’t found any fun or romance in that tropical paradise. In fact she hates the place. She can’t wait to get away from Hawaii. Somehow Marvin, accompanied by his comic relief sidekick Shad Buggle (Bob Burns), has to persuade Georgia to stay in Hawaii. The obvious way to do that is to offer her fun and romance.
Georgia also has a comic relief sidekick in the person of Myrtle Finch (Martha Raye). In a desperate effort to pad the movie out to its modest 89-minute running time there’s a bit of a romance sub-plot between Myrtle and Shad.
The songs are OK and Bing Crosby is in fine voice.
This is a fairly lavish Paramount production and they even did some second unit filming on location in Hawaii which has the effect of opening up the picture compared to most of the entirely studio-bound musicals of its era. Even the rear projection work is done pretty well. Director Frank Tuttle had a long and varied if not overly distinguished career and his work here is typically solid if uninspired.
Bob Burns manages to be mildly amusing without being too annoying. Sadly the same cannot be said for Martha Raye who is gratingly irritating and relentlessly unfunny. Shad’s pet pig supplies a few laughs.
Look out for a very young Anthony Quinn as a Hawaiian.
Waikiki Wedding is one of five movies included in the Bing Crosby: Screen Legend Collection DVD boxed set. It gets a very good transfer.
Waikiki Wedding is almost too lightweight even for a frothy comedy musical romance but it’s harmless and reasonably entertaining and at times genuinely amusing. Bing Crosby fans will certainly want to see it. Recommended as long as you don’t set your expectations too high.