In 1975, one of the hottest films at the box office was SHAMPOO, starring Warren Beatty as a Beverly Hills hairdresser who services his female clients at the shop AND at home.
Beatty is George, short on words and long on action as he juggles his girlfriend Jill (the beautiful young Goldie Hawn) and her best friend Jackie (the stunning Julie Christie) who happens to be the mistress of wealthy businessman Lester (Jack Warden), who is married to Felicia (Lee Grant) whose hunger for George is insatiable.
As George bounces from bed to bed, he begins to question which relationship is the most important to him, or if there are any true feelings in any of the relationships.
Set in 1968, on night of Nixon's election, the film pulls all the characters together on one fateful night when all the players end up at the same two parties.
The film is dated in its language and approach to the fact that George conveniently pretends he is gay when he's caught alone with women. Some of the characters reactions or responses are definitely from another era, but definitely capture where the world was in the late sixties and early seventies.
Jack Warden is hilarious as Lester, sporting too tight clothes, more money than common sense and the worst head of orange hair possible. As he and George consider becoming business partners, all while George is sleeping with both his wife and mistress, the morals and motives of all involved are cleverly explored.
Written by Robert Towne (Chinatown, Bonnie and Clyde) and Beatty and directed by Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude, Coming Home) the film is never quite as funny as I expected it to be, but never less than interesting.
Beatty is a powder-keg as George, all quiet reserve through most of the film, but showing surprising emotion when he finally decides that one of these women is his destiny.
Christie and Hawn are both great, conveying plenty of sadness behind their beautiful-on-the-surface California lives.
Lee Grant won an Academy Award as best supporting actress as Felicia and look for 15 year old Carrie Fisher in her first role as Felicia's daughter. The film was nominated for 10 Oscars.
Interesting, quiet music score by Paul Simon.
Shampoo depicts a lot of beautiful people, with beautiful lives, looking for something much more beneath the surface.
It's good, but not great, dated but always interesting. To me it was vastly overrated back in the day. We'll give it a C+.
Beatty, Towne and Christie reunited three years later to make a much funnier and brilliant film, "Heaven Can Wait".
If you're in a serious mood, think "Shampoo".
If you want the perfect romantic comedy, think "Heaven Can Wait."