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Given its wacky concept and its profusion of cameos from B-list stars, “Unbeatable Harold” should be far campier than it is. This comic tale of an Elvis-loving loser with a heart of gold and the beautiful showgirl he falls in love with is far too mild to gain any traction at the boxoffice, but its heart certainly is in the right place.
Harold (Gordon Michaels, who also wrote the script that is based on Randy Noojin’s two-hander play) emulates his hero Elvis with his pompadour hairstyle, his mutton-chop sideburns and the Cadillac he drives. Unfortunately, he lives a less than glamorous existence, working as an assistant manager at a tacky Reno steakhouse even while dreaming of becoming a television weatherman.
Assigned by his gruff boss (Henry Winkler) to find a new waitress, Harold encounters a stroke of luck in the form of Wanda (Nicole DeHuff), a gorgeous Vegas showgirl who has just fled a relationship with a two-timing former rock star (a glam Dylan McDermott, displaying no comic flair whatsoever), who still thinks he’s living in his glory days. When she agrees to take the job, the lovestruck Harold, encouraged by his elderly father (Charles Durning), promptly sets out to win her heart.
Although the indefatigable Harold is an appealing enough character, his numerous mishaps aren’t nearly funny enough to sustain interest. Director Ari Palitz attempts to pump up the comic action with cameos by such figures as Phyllis Diller and Zelda Rubinstein and even includes a mock music video starring Gladys Knight and Michelle Phillips (who otherwise have small roles as waitresses).
The film’s chief value is as a tribute to its charming female lead, DeHuff, who died tragically young shortly after filming was completed.
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