There's something dissatisfying about this film, one I've always wanted to like but that's never gripped me on the numerous occasions I've tried watching it. I wish it was funnier, that the satirical edge was sharper and that I cared more for the main characters. Nevertheless, Ashby is clearly in control of the piece visually and the performances are never less than outstanding across the board.
"What exactly can a president do to affect the moral tone of the country? The president can end the permissive attitudes, non-critical of an individual who decides for himself, whether to obey or break the laws..." - Spiro Agnew, on one of the TVs. Highly, highly enjoyable film. Directed with such a deft touch.
A superb soundtrack and decent cast is about all Shampoo has to offer. The lead character (played by Warren Beatty) is too pathetic to gain any sympathy from viewers, whereas the main female characters (Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn) are supposed to be won over by his charms. Jack Warden is a plus, but this is a bit of a dated chore that suffers from a poor script, mistakenly thinking that the leads will carry it.
With the talent involved, I can't help feeling that, affecting though this is, it could have been better. I can't decide if there's much real merit to Ashby's tripod-bound naturalism, or whether the film just lacks visual flair. Seriously, with that soundtrack, that writer, those actors... surely this could have been something more. Instead I'm almost left reading the screenplay 'through' the film...
Now this kind of emptiness I can buy into! Carrie Fisher steals her first scene and Julie Christie in THAT dress omg, so many great bits of improv. Warren looks like he could do with a haircut himself, he could be changing the guard outside Buckingham Palace with that bearskin on his head! I was 'easy on the eye and serial seduction is no fun, I had that exact bike, luckily I met my wife on it.
A rather bizarre comedy. Jack Warden gets most of the funny lines, although Julie Christie delivers one at the party that had me doing a spit take like Beatty. Not as good as Harold and Maude or The Landlord, but this is a fun Ashby film with a great supporting cast including Christie and a personal fav of mine, Lee Grant. Interesting end to the film. On the whole a really unconventional American film. 4 stars
A real gem from Hal Ashby that deserves to be mentioned alongside Harold & Maude: a counterculture update of screwball comedy, built around the delicious idea of Warren Beatty as a genius stylist of hair (except his own) who keeps dimwittedly falling into bed with one woman or another as if he has no say in the matter. The Nixon election backdrop works great, and best of all, it arrives in warm, contemplative places.