A South Florida retirement community turns into a wild and happening place, full of murder, mayhem and larger-than-life characters.
Residents of the (usually) sleepy community of Laguna Key are battling the owner of the Bad Girl’s Bar and Grill. The owner, a former horror-movie scream queen named Danni Keene, wants live music at the bar, which has resulted in the arrival of Buddy, a suspicious Barry Manilow impersonator, and his dog Mandy. The constant back-and-forth between Dannie and members of the community, which is primarily centered on noise restrictions during the nightly broadcast of Wheel of Fortune, is the biggest issue that security guard Brian Wilson has to deal with—that is until the body of an apparent drifter is discovered in a dumpster. When it turns out that the deceased had a brother, and that brother comes to town with his puppet circus in tow, things get weird fast. Taking her cue from fellow Floridian Carl Hiaasen, Kelby (Whale Season, 2006, etc.) plays her quirks for all they are worth. Buddhism, European circus traditions and the vagaries of aging all meld together in this oddball hodgepodge. Kelby adds madcap romance to the mix: Wilson, who can’t help singing Beach Boys tunes, is hot for the blind Sophie, his “landlocked mermaid,” and Danni, who at her peak was known as “the workingman’s Sharon Stone,” falls hard for circus leader Sòlas MacKay, who sports tiny vestigial wings. But the human element is skimmed over lightly in pursuit of wacky humor, and without Hiaasen’s spot-on timing the jokes begin to wear thin.
Fans of the bizarre may be intrigued; others will find it annoying.