Where the Boys Are (1960)

Genres - Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Dec 28, 1960 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Mark Deming

More than four decades after it was released, it's easy to smile and wonder if college students ever really behaved as they did in the original Where the Boys Are, in which what's supposed to be a week-long bender of collegiate decadence in Florida looks like a fairly innocuous beer bust by contemporary standards. But the movie still gets by on its charm and the thankfully light touch of much of the cast. Dolores Hart has the good sense not to overplay her hand as the relative glamour girl of the South-bound foursome, and George Hamilton's wealthy dreamboat carries just the right balance of sincerity and tongue-in-cheek self-parody. If Paula Prentiss and Jim Hutton lay it on a bit thicker, they certainly play well off of one another, and went on to become a solid comic team in several subsequent pictures. If someone had to have a tragic event, at least Yvette Mimieux gives her character the proper degree of dignified gravity, and while Connie Francis can't really act, she seems to know enough to stay out of the way when she's not singing. (And has the screen ever beheld a dialectic jazz musician quite like Frank Gorshin? I believe not.) Director Henry Levin keeps the proceedings fun and frothy most of the time, and while the more serious turn in the final reel seems forced, the film was certainly ahead of its time in pondering the notion of sexual freedom for both male and female college students (even though, for the most part, our heroines ponder this as principle rather than reality). Hardly a masterpiece, Where the Boys Are still stacks up as pleasant entertainment that doesn't insult the intelligence, and time has been much kinder to this film than its misbegotten 1984 remake.