Weekend Movie – Elvis Has Left the Building

Freak accidents that kill Elvis impersonators are a splendid breeding ground for romance

In 1958, Harmony (Kim Basinger) was lucky enough to catch a ride with Elvis in a pink Cadillac. She believes Elvis has saved her as a little girl and continues to guide her as she travels the Western States of America as a cosmetic professional. Even though she is highly successful in her profession, she feels her life is lacking meaning and her best friend Shirl (Annie Potts), also a Pink Lady consultant, is convinced Harmony needs to find a man. Soon…ish.

Miles Taylor (John Corbett) is not only a man, but one who also never stopped talking to Elvis. For an advertising guy he is incredibly nice. Eager to divorce his impersonator wife Belinda (Denise Richards), Miles is on the road to deliver an Elvis suit and settle affairs with her once and for all. With the Amateur Elvis Impersonator Convention in Las Vegas coming up, Elvises of all shapes and sizes are flocking to Nevada.

Meanwhile, Harmony meets an Elvis impersonator who accidentally sets himself on fire, soon followed by a faux Elvis, who gets crushed by a billboard. Policeman Sal (Mike Starr) and his new partner Charlie (Phill Lewis) are on the case and it seems as if they are not sure, if it is actually a crime to kill terrible Elvis impersonators. Sal is an old-school cop and has a hard time adjusting to his quirky, partner, who is all about new ways and has quite a few OCDish issues.

Sal: How difficult is it for some asshole to realize if you don’t look or sing like Elvis, put on a Planet Hollywood t-shirt, shut the hell up.

Charlie: What motivation would anyone have to kill Elvis impersonators?

Sal: Perhaps some violent psychotic reaction to bad hair, bad clothes, bad taste, bad singing, bad judgement, bad …

Harmony encounters an impersonator out on the road whose car had broken down. Since her mum was a mechanic, she can quickly identify the problem and the broken radiator is swiftly fixed with a lipstick, which unfortunately ends up killing the bad Elvis. Harmony grows more and more confused about her meaningless life and the Elvis impersonators that drop dead like flies when she’s around.

When Harmony and Miles meet, there is certainly electricity in the air but Harmony mistakes him for an impersonator and is afraid, she might be dangerous for his kind. On the road again, Harmony is forced to swerve a car on her side of the road and hits a mailbox. You may have guessed, said mailbox shoots off and kills an Elvis impersonator driving by .

Before she heads to Vegas, the devastated Harmony confides in Darren Swirl (Philip Charles MacKenzie), Pink Lady headquarters receptionist.

How many dead so far?

Three.

This too shall pass. And then maybe you can concentrate on lawyers.

 

Not long after, Miles drives past Dead-Mailbox Elvis and finds Harmony’s’ cell. Handy. With a bit of convincing, she finally agrees on a date, although Miles gets lost and is running late to the Ponderosa Road House. While Harmony thinks Miles stood her up, he accidentally gets locked in the trunk of her pink Cadillac. Finally, the road movie is taking us to Las Vegas, where going undercover as Elvis impersonators proves to be a true bonding experience for the cops.

 

Surrender To Your Emotions (Spoiler Alert)

A whisper down the lane makes the impersonators think Elvis was still alive. In their excitement, dozens of them head Lemming-like to the roof. After Miles and Harmony finally get together, the rooftop is struck by lighting and all mediocre Elvis impersonators have left the building…

Sam: This is an act of God or Elvis or … something…

Harmony: If I were you boys, I’d lose those suits. I think the King is mad.

A final flashback reveals that Harmony and Miles had met before as children. Her mum used to service Elvis’ Cadillac and it was right there where their future was sealed. Harmony saved the earth from bad taste and Elvis did something for her in return.

 

Maybe director Joel Zwick could have killed a few more Elvis impersonators in freak accidents but rather chose to let Kim Basinger and John Corbett sing “You Are Always On My Mind” somewhere out on the road. Scenes like this make this movie worth watching. There are a lot of fun appearances; you will spot Joel Zwick himself, Wayne Newton, Pat Morita, Tom Hanks and many more. Not to forget, many not so great Elvis impersonators.

Why we love it: The freak accidents do the trick for me.

Recommended for: people who love pink, Elvis and cheesy love stories.

 

Road Movie Romance Comedy

Directed by Joel Zwick
Written by Mitchell Ganem and Adam-Michael Garber
Kim Basinger (Harmony Jones)
John Corbett (Miles Taylor)
Annie Potts (Shirl)
Mike Starr Sal (White COP)
Phill Lewis (Charlie)
Denise Richards (Belinda)
Philip Charles MacKenzie (Darren Swirl)
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