Brooklyn teenager Jeffrey Willis, thoroughly unhappy with his modest homestead, embraces the other-world aspects of his summer job at the posh Flamingo Club. He spurns his father in favor of the patronage of smooth-talking Phil Brody and is seduced by the ample bikini charms of club member Carla Samson. But thanks to a couple of late-summer hard lessons, the teen eventually realizes that family should always come first.
***Matt Dillon's summer as a cabana boy at a private beach club on Long Island*** Released in 1984, "The Flamingo Kid" is a coming-of-age beach flick. What occasionally draws me to these types of films is their youthful energy and fun spirit, as well as the oceanic locations and the women. It brings one back in time to the carefree era of his/her coming-of-age years. Thankfully, "The Flamingo Kid" shoots for something deeper than just a shallow beach flick, which the best ones do, e.g. the original “Gidget” (1959). The story takes place in 1963 where 18-year-old Jeffrey (Matt Dillon), a plumber's son from Brooklyn, gets a summer job at a private beach club on Long Island called the El Flamingo. This was his final summer of carefree fun before going off to college, but his experiences at the club change his plans. He makes loads of money on tips, meets a beautiful blonde and becomes fascinated by a new mentor, a fast-talking businessman and card shark, Phil Brody (Richard Crenna). Brody convinces Jeffrey that there are easier, faster (i.e. dishonest) ways to make loads of money than going off to college for years on end. When Jeffry cancels his college plans and moves out of his house it naturally creates friction with his father (Hector Elizondo). Will he go on to become the next generation's fast-talking businessman/card shark? Almost the entire film was shot on location at a Queens’ beach club with loads of gorgeous females on hand, including Jeffrey's girlfriend in the story, Carla played by Janet Jones, whose body is so well sculptured she could’ve been Wonder Woman (the movie even jokes about this). Carole Davis also shines as Brody’s brunette daughter, Joyce, a low-key part. Cutie Marisa Tomei even has a cameo. The bottom line is that "The Flamingo Kid" offers everything you'd want in such a film and more, including an interesting story where you care about the outcome. And, thankfully, there's NO RAUNCH (well, maybe a flash). In addition, the soundtrack includes numerous early 60's hits like "Runaround Sue," etc. What's not to like? The film runs 1 hour, 40 minutes. GRADE: B+/A-