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Review: Shampoo (1975)

Shampoo

Rating

Director
Hal Ashby
Screenplay
Robert Towne, Warren Beatty
Length
109 min.
Starring
Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Tony Bill, George Furth, Jay Robinson, Ann Weldon, Carrie Fisher, William Castle
MPAA Rating
R

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Review
A Hollywood stylist wants to start his own salon but is having trouble securing a loan. When one of his married clients with whom he is obviously sleeping suggests to her husband that he invest in the endeavor, a chain of events begins that threatens to expose his delicate and intricate web of sexual dalliances.

Warren Beatty was near the peak of his sexuality when he took on the role of George Roundy, the hairdressing gigolo at the center of this Hal Ashby farce. By his side and assisting him along the way are his actress girlfriend Jill (Goldie Hawn), the investment banker Lester (Jack Warden), Lester's wife and George client Felicia (Lee Grant), and Lester's mistress Jackie (Julie Christie). All three women have been in his bed and being caught with any of them would risk his future.

Beatty wasn't the only one at the top of his sexual game, Christie was ravishing and delivers the film's second best performance (after Beatty's). Warden and Hawn are also wonderful, but Lee Grant is a virtual non-entity. Even when she's on screen, you almost forget she's there, which makes for a big head scratcher when she of the entire cast was singled out as an Oscar winner.

Perhaps the comedy of the 1970s wasn't as ribald and laugh-out-loud funny as much of what would come after it in the post-sexual revolution, but I found only a handful of genuinely amusing, most notably the scene at the Nixon campaign party where Christie lets the liquor get the best of her and decides she wants George right then and there. And even the romantic entanglements don't seem to drive the narrative beyond commonality. I felt little concern for the ultimate climax of the film and, for a movie about sexual encounters, I would expect a better bit of foreplay.
Review Written
October 4, 2010

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