I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!
Reviewed by Jenny LeComte
Rating: 6 Beans
hen I was confined to bed, laid low by some horrible viral pestilence, a friend dropped off a copy of this movie.
"You'll love it,'' he enthused. "It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will chase the blues away.''
He was right. Apart from having a penchant for K-tel compilations (particularly "Scorcher" and "Ripper"), I love psychedelic 60s movies where the girls wear geometric shifts and dance to Strawberry Alarm Clock.
Peter Sellers stars as Harold Fine, a stuffy, suited man who works in a dull office and is engaged to his cheesy secretary Joyce (Joyce Van Patten). Joyce reminds me a lot of the busybody neighbour in "My Favourite Martian". She's too suburban for words. After her first date with Harold, Joyce started dragging him to display homes and picking out their silver pattern.
Howard finds Joyce tedious at best and is filled with a crushing ennui he just can't explain. Then one day, he meets Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young), a groovy hippie chick who turns him onto drugs and hedonism. The original title of this movie was "Kiss My Butterfly'' and it refers to the fetching tattoo Nancy has on her upper thigh.
Before you can say "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out", Howard's ditched his office duds, started wearing love beads and developed a strong liking for hash cookies. Not since Greg Brady decorated his father's den and started calling himself Johnny Bravo have I seen such a "slap your legs with mirth'' turnaround.
Howard's apartment becomes Party Central for Nancy and her dissolute friends. My favourite is Love Lady (Eddra Gale), a corpulent transvestite who introduces himself/herself by saying: "I only eat grass and acid.''
One of the funniest scenes in the whole movie is when Nancy makes some chocolate brownies for Harold, impregnates them heavily with marijuana and Harold inadvertently gives them to Joyce and her uptight parents. Joyce becomes extremely amorous. Father giggles uncontrollably. And Mother tries to tell what she firmly believes is a hilarious story about a relative in New Jersey. But I guess you had to be there...
Harold soon realises he's gone too far. The drop-out lifestyle isn't for him, a fact which he soon realises when Nancy wants to drag him to an Andy Warhol movie called "Mondo Feet". (I haven't seen it, but "Flesh'' and "Trash'' were excruciating enough!)
Contemplating his miserable existence, Harold says: "I've got pot, I've got acid, I've got LSD cubes. I'm probably the hippest guy around here. I'm so hip, it hurts!''
Oh, well, back to the business suit, eh, Harry?!
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