Successful Camp... even when it reveals self-parody, reeks of self-love
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"
"Yvette Mimieux as herself"* - this is the kind of phrase that real camp-film aficionados - me, of course, among them - live for. And poor Paula, just a ditto...
This movie appears to a nexus - actually, almost a Black Hole - of unwise trends and regrettable choices. Among other things, Looking for Love manages to combine a whole raft of tawdry movie genres. First, it's a prime example pop-star movie placement, no matter how unlikely the poptart (a trend that recently came back for a while - viz. the maiden films of such distinguished thespians as Britney Spears, Mandy Moore, Brandi, the Spice Girls, and, of course, Miss Mariah Carey, whose remarkable Glitter appears to have sent the trend back underground for a while). Then, as so often happens, it's a "youth" picture apparently aimed squarely at the 42-55 demographic (Johnny Carson? Danny Thomas?). It's a movie about television (in the same way that lesser thirties films tried to seem "hep" by promoting radio acts), as well as an "insider" story about the showbiz - a genre that sustained a near-fatal blow two years after this with The Oscar (which, in its screaming reds and self-conscious go at stylishness, Looking for Love oddly resembles). Last, but hardly least, it's an example of that odd bird, the demi-sequel (I especially like how the narration all but promises that you won't have any nasty casting surprises - "nearly all the wonderful gang!").
And then there's Connie Francis, of whom no more need be said than that she is nothing if not enthusiastic. She's had a hard road since, but here she's all bubble and nerve, and if that doesn't really translate into being very good, well, she's in there trying. A lot.
* Actually, herself seems like rather an interesting person. Yvette ended the sixties recording a spoken-word album of Baudelaire's Fleurs du mal with Indian sensation Ali Akbar Khan, was a longtime Hollywood Wife as Mrs. Stanley Donen, became an avocational anthropologist and real-estate magnate, and by the '90s had retired to enjoy her second marriage, to a rich executive and philanthropist. We should all be such a camp-movie punchline.