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I Love You Alice B. Toklas (1968)

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Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Comedies, Classic Comedy
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Recently Rented By Cinenaut

One of the few 1960s satires of the hippie culture that doesn't appear to be concocted by grumpy old men, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas stars Peter Sellers as Harold Fine, a staid, fortysomething Jewish attorney. Engaged to the equally straitlaced Joyce (Joyce Van Patten), Harold wistfully dreams of having a more exciting lifestyle. Through a fluke, Harold is obliged to drive a station wagon emblazoned with "psychedelic" imagery; it is with this vehicle that he picks up his flower-child brother Herbie (David Arkin), and Herbie's groovy chick Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young). Rather enjoying the company of people outside of his establishment orbit, Harold visits Nancy at her pad, where she plies him with "hash brownies" -- concoctions laced with marijuana. His inhibitions released by the spiked pastries, Harold kicks over the traces, grows his hair to shoulder length, and embarks upon an affair with Nancy. But when the effects of the brownies wear off, Harold suddenly feels like the rather foolish middle-aged man that he is. The beauty of I Love You, Alice B. Toklas is that it patronizes neither the hippies nor the Establishment characters; both groups are shown as human beings rather than agit-prop stereotypes.

GreenCine Member Reviews

"I'm So Hip It Hurts!" by ZenBones May 9, 2006 - 10:51 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Peter Sellers is a nice Jewish guy who is soon to be wed to a nice Jewish lady. He is the model son and model citizen... until he meets up with his hippie brother's girlfriend and her penchant for making "Alice B. Toklas Brownies" (brownies laced with hashish). Sellers goes through the complete head trip, becoming a full-fledged, certifiable flower child. He quits his successful career as an attorney, leaves his sobbing bride at the altar, and moves into his station wagon with his brother's girlfriend [being that his brother is a hippie he's of course very "modern" and understanding about this].

This movie is dated but that's why I love it. It serves as a perfect time capsule, showing the mainstream - but just a little bit edgy - sitcomish humor that was popular among the liberal middle class of America back then. It's kind of like The Monkees for grown-ups, illustrating that sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and "doing your own thing" don't have to be threatening at all. Even Sellers' parents get high, which I think is the film's funniest scene (think of your own parents in the same scenario - hilarious!). Paul Mazursky wrote a terrific screenplay, and Sellers gives one of his most relaxed and effective comic performances of the sixties. Like Alice B. Toklas brownies, this movie is sweet, fun and just a tad decadent.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.54)
13 Votes
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