A square lawyer (Peter Sellers) with a nagging mom (Jo Van Fleet), a hippie brother (David Arkin), and doubts about marrying his earnest girlfriend (Joyce Van Patten) ends up eating hash-laced brownies, falling for a free-spirited young woman (Lauren Taylor-Young), and questioning his entire lifestyle.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Black Comedy
- Character Arc
- Peter Sellers Films
Three years after donning a ridiculous wig-with-bangs to play sex-obsessed psychoanalyst Dr. Fritz Fassbender in What’s New, Pussycat? (1965), Peter Sellers had another chance to go long-haired in this time-capsule movie about “finding oneself” in the midst of the counterculture revolution. Sellers’ character here (Harold) is hard to sympathize with: he treats his fiancee (Van Patten) terribly, he never stands up to his domineering mother (Van Fleet), and his shift to a hippie lifestyle rings completely false. This is all meant to be played for laughs — yet there’s clearly an undercurrent of supposed “Truth” behind Paul Mazursky’s screenplay as well, with guileless Taylor-Young coming across as the most authentic of the bunch. Meanwhile, the scenes with a Latino family seeking compensation for a fender-bender are simply offensive.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Good use of location shooting in Los Angeles
No; you can skip this one. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.