HEARTBREAK HOTEL is an inept effort that asks the question: What would happen if Elvis Presley came into your life? Sanctioned and sanitized by the Graceland representatives who protect his image, the film presents an idealized Elvis untouched by the weight, drug, and mental problems that
began to destroy him circa 1972, the year in which HEARTBREAK HOTEL is set. The story takes place in a small town in Ohio, where teenage rock 'n' roller Schlatter actually kidnaps Presley (played by Keith) and drags him home to turn around the life of his divorced, lonely, and neglectful mother,
Weld, a devoted fan. Disgusted with the Las Vegas image Keith has recently embraced, Schlatter shames the King--who worries that he has lost touch with "the kids" of America--into returning to the bad-ass persona that distinguished him when he first became popular in 1956. Poorly written and
clumsily directed by 29-year-old Chris Columbus, a Steven Spielberg protege, HEARTBREAK HOTEL would be pure torture were it not so unintentionally funny. Under the control of a director with some grasp of the magnitude of Presley's influence on popular culture, this film could have been a powerful
examination of the effect Elvis had and of the forces that ultimately destroyed him. But like visiting Graceland, which is bereft of any reference to Presley's decline, HEARTBREAK HOTEL doesn't deal honestly with the total man.
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