Sunday, May 30, 2010
Gay Cinema: SHAMPOO
Produced and co-written by Beatty, SHAMPOO has an agenda. A very bold agenda that is manages to pull off with style, elegance and wit. This movie surprised me over and over and over. The character of George Roundy, seems to be based on Babs love interest, Jon Peters who brought the idea of a "straight" male hairdresser to the mainstream in the seventies. Warren Beatty proved just how big his balls were to play this role. He had to appear cocky as hell and have a "I don't care what anyone thinks of me" attitude. He oozes hotness, even when his hair is a mile high. I swear, he gets sexier and sexier as the movie moves along. And anytime a gay joke is tossed at him, he either goes with it and doesn't care or brushes it aside with a flip of his blowdryer. With each scene in SHAMPOO, his character's layers get deeper and deeper. Who knew all the angst that comes with being a hot male hairdresser in Beverly Hills?!
This is a very adult comedy that doesn't pander to anyone or treat it's audience like they are a bunch of mindless moviegoers. Tons of jokes go right under the radar and I caught myself laughing at lines about ten seconds after they were delivered. Cleverness is something that is not easy to do in a comedy, but SHAMPOO manages to hold on to the viewer all the while jumping from slapstick to bittersweetness.
Of course, SHAMPOO would be nothing without the ladies. First off, Goldie Hawn is at the top of her game. She hasn't been completely eaten by Hollywood yet and she is crazy awesome in this movie. She doesn't play it all cutie-pie like in her 80's to current roles. For those that have seen the PBS special GOLDIE IN THE WILD, where she treks off to find her favorite elephant, you know that Goldie tells lies and a lot of the charm and laughs are a face for something more rotten and less than charming. But you must give it up for Goldie in SHAMPOO. I had actually forgotten just how good her comedic timing was...
Julie Christie...oh snap! Casting her as the lead love interest was a brilliant casting choice. She brings a sense of grace to what seems like a routine sex comedy.
Tossing her into the mix takes the movie to the next level and her hairdos! WOW!!
Of course, one of the actors that seems to get lost in the shuffle of SHAMPOO, but is amazing to watch is Lee Grant. She snatches every single scene she is in. The Christie/Grant diva showdown is a scene that DYNASTY wishes it could capture!! I want to have a SHAMPOO diva staredown with my arch enemies all the time!
SHAMPOO seems like a time capsule of a time and place that doesn't seem to exist anymore, but the script and acting are both so tight, that it doesn't really seem dated, but also fresh. Just like you feel right after a good rinse and cut.
Of note: I like to think that Mr. David from DALLAS was based on George Roundy. And it even spawned it's own blaxploitation film!