review for Blue Hawaii on AllMovie

Blue Hawaii (1961)
by Craig Butler review

Blue Hawaii is not a great movie by any means, but it's so amiable and ingratiating that most people will be willing to overlook its flaws and just let it wash over them. Its flaws are certainly many, starting with a screenplay that is filled with clichés and trite dialogue, and features a fairly hoary basic premise and a plot that thinks nothing of coming to a dead halt so that Elvis Presley can sing and swing through a number. Yet there's also lightheartedness to the whole enterprise that keeps it afloat. Clearly, the main attractions here are Presley and the setting, and the film doesn't stint on either one. Presley's in practically every scene, and he excels at this kind of role: slightly rebellious, but for the right reasons; easygoing, but determined; and always ready to break out the guitar and jam with his friends. And while there are plenty of scenes that are clearly studio-bound, director Norman Taurog also makes sure that he doesn't neglect the "travelogue" aspect of the film. Throw in "Can't Help Falling in Love," "Rock-a-Hula Baby," the title number, and a healthy heaping of other songs, and you've got an entertaining, unchallenging way to pass the time.