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Dethroning King of 'Honeymoon'

October 01, 1992|LYNN SMITH | Lynn Smith is a staff writer for The Times' View section. This column will appear weekly in O.C. Live! and

In "Honeymoon in Vegas," a reluctant boyfriend agrees to marry his girl but at the last minute loses $65,000 to a big-time gambler in a poker game. The gambler will forgive the debt if he can spend the weekend with the bride-to-be. As the gambler romances her in Hawaii, the boyfriend schemes to get her back. (Rated PG-13)

Here we are on a sunny Saturday in a dark movie theater, an aging baby boomer and three members of a generation increasingly foreign to me: 11-year-olds.

The theater is so empty that the girls can put their feet up on the seats in front and no one will mind.

My laughter echoes back from the velveteen curtains. The kids watch the movie without expression.

I am convulsed by the running gag of the Elvis impersonators--Elvises in full sideburns and glitter suits, the ethnic Elvises, the 5-year-old Elvis, the flying Elvises in electric suits with twinkle lights.

For the girls, it's a bore. Not exactly a crashing, let's-say-we're-going-to-the-bathroom-but-really-sneak-into-an-R-rated- movie kind of a bore. Just three little thumbs sideways.

Ordering lunch afterward in a restaurant was more exciting than "Honeymoon in Vegas," they say.

"What about the Elvis impersonators jumping out of the plane?" I ask. "Wasn't that funny?"

Oh yeah, they say politely. "They were weird." Adds another: "They were stupid." And the third: "I liked it when the suits lighted up."

They know who Elvis was, right? "They say he was the king of rock 'n' roll . . . was the king," says one, measuring and underscoring her words to make sure I get the full impact of her skepticism. OK. I surrender.

Adults who take kids to PG-13 movies often report another phenomenon--that is, a sudden, heightened and frightening awareness of sex, violence and the F-word, most of which the kids say they hear every day on the playground. And worse. As if that should reassure us.

These girls were unfazed by the movie's one F-word, the one roll in the sack. No one even snickered at the one bare behind.

Nor did the plot provide them any surprises. "Could you believe the gambler turned out to be such a jerk?" I ask. "He was so nice to her in Hawaii." They knew, of course, that he was bad news from the beginning. "He set up the game," explained one. These are girls of the '90s. They play poker by themselves for fun.

This is not to say they cannot find any good in the fine culture of bygone days.

Walking back to the car, they break into a sweet and spontaneous chorus: "Singing doo wah diddy, diddy diddydum diddydo."

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