“First I lost my bags, then my room, and now my trousers!”
A naive American hitchhiker (Sydne Rome) is sexually humiliated by the denizens of a warped Italian villa, including an ex-pimp (Marcello Mastroianni) and a dying millionaire (Hugh Griffith).
This hideously awful “black comedy” by Roman Polanski possesses almost no redeeming qualities: it’s sexist, dull, offensive, and poorly acted. Although some have described What? as a variant on “Alice in Wonderland”, the comparison is unmerited: while Carroll’s pre-pubescent Alice experiences humorously bizarre encounters with creatures from alternate universes, Rome is simply preyed upon by countless lechers; but, since she’s a prototypical “dumb blonde” hippie, she gives in rather than fighting back, and thus we have almost no sympathy for her. When she inexplicably starts experiencing “deja vu” — and we’re forced to watch some of the same exact scenarios all over again — it’s literally painful. Perhaps most upsetting of all is how gorgeous Polanski’s production values and settings are, as always — what a waste!
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- The beautiful Italian setting
No. Film fanatics shouldn’t have to suffer through Polanski’s mistakes.