Popi

  • 1969
  • 1 HR 55 MIN
  • G
  • Comedy

Alan Arkin is one of those chameleon actors who can do many different kinds of roles. That works for and against him, as his career has been filled with interesting parts but only the rare successful commercial venture. This time Arkin is a poor Puerto Rican widower living in New York's Spanish Harlem. He's raising his two sons, Figueroa and Alejandro,...read more

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Alan Arkin is one of those chameleon actors who can do many different kinds of roles. That works for and against him, as his career has been filled with interesting parts but only the rare successful commercial venture. This time Arkin is a poor Puerto Rican widower living in New York's

Spanish Harlem. He's raising his two sons, Figueroa and Alejandro, in a small apartment that has numerous locks to protect them against intruders. Whenever someone knocks on the door, Arkin barks to simulate a watchdog. Devoted to giving his sons a better lot in life than his, he has put his

personal pleasure, that of marrying sensuous girlfriend Moreno, on hold for the time being. When the boys are settled, he plans to quit Harlem and settle in the relatively safer area of Brooklyn. Arkin works many jobs to support his sons and worries about unsavory influences in the area. Soon he

learns that the boys have told their school-yard pals he is a gangster, the brother of a local underworld tough guy. Arkin is working at a dinner for Cuban refugees and realizes that the US has always been kinder to political refugees than to the average poor guy, so he hits upon a plan that will

offer his sons the best of everything. His plot is to set them adrift off the coast of Florida in a boat and let them be picked up by the Coast Guard as refugeees from Castro's tyranny. To that end, he takes his sons to Central Park, where he instructs them in the art of rowing, and then teaches

them how to handle a motorboat in the East River. The boys are totally against the plan and even attempt to run away, but Arkin prevails. He takes them to Florida, steals a small boat, and tells the boys to steer it out to sea--assuring them that soon after they run out of gas, they'll be found

and rescued. The boys are frightened but finally agree. Arkin can't get in touch with the Coast Guard and becomes a basket case until he hears the news that two Cuban boys have been rescued. They are taken to a hospital to recover from sunburn and lack of water, and thousands of messages pour in,

including an invitation to meet the President in Washington. When the boys recover, Arkin (disguised) manages to get to them, and they tell him that they've received many offers of adoption but that they love Arkin and want to stay with him. The ensuing argument alerts the hospital staff. Arkin

attempts to escape, the sons run after him, and the entire charade is uncovered. Alejandro and Figueroa are thrilled to go back to Harlem, which is home to them. The story and the situation are very "New York" in style and content, and many of the jokes are so oriented to the city that they may be

lost on anyone who has never visited the Big Mango (which is what Puerto Rican comedienne Liz Torres calls it now that so many of her countrymen have moved there).

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