Clambake is a wonderful of example of Elvis not giving a fuck anymore. There are several scenes in this film where his emoting amounts to a drowsy stare that gives me the creeps. The plot in one sentence: The son of a wealthy oil tycoon trades places with a water ski instructor to see if he can make it on his own, impress a girl, and win a boat race.
Between the aforementioned abysmal Presley-acting, Bill Bixby playing a villain we're supposed to kind of like(?), hippie happening-esque moments in the vein of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In", boring boat racing, and a horrifyingly schmaltzy musical number called "Confidence" -think of it as the worst rendition of "High Hopes" you can imagine but worse- this movie is all over the place. The insane cuteness of Shelly Fabares (I'll be getting back to her in Girl Happy and Spinout) and the eye candy from the female extras kind of win me over, truth be told.
Fans of cool cars, Fender guitars, wacky situations, garish cinematography, and above all, bad friggin' movies, need only apply. Don't get me wrong, this one is staying in my collection because it is so enjoyably bad. Even the DVD from MGM looks like no one gave this movie a second thought. This has one of the poorest transfers I've seen an Elvis movie get so far. Pretty sad.