Barry Manilow fans are hereby served notice that if they intend to watch CBS's "Copacabana" -- and we know you're out there waiting for this one, Manilow fans -- that the best way to cope with this film is to turn it off 10 minutes before it ends.
Someone who really liked the song decided it would make a good movie, resulting in a film plot that follows the song lyric down to the last bar, including the strangely out of place killing of the main character in the end.
Actually, it was Manilow, fresh from five years of acting lessons, who thought his hit song "Copacabana" might make a film. He pitched the idea to Dick Clark. Clark's production company rounded up a nifty cast, including Annette O'Toole as Lola and Estelle Getty ("Golden Girls") as Manilow's mother.
Manilow and O'Toole are an appealing pair, meeting while bot are struggling for a place in the highly competitive music business. Some laughs, a lot of songs and much romance follow. Then comes the end. What a downer! You've sat through about one hour and 50 minutes of light romantic comedy only to have the whole thing spoiled by some guy with a gun. What could be a neat '40s style boy-meets-girl, boy-has-spat-with-girl, boy-is- reunited-with-girl storyline is suddenly turned sour by a boy-gets- shot-by-jealous-man ending. It made for a solid gold record, but as a film finale it has a tinny ring.
-- Michael E. Hill