Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Move (1970)

Man, the late ’60s and early ’70s were the glory days for pointless movies about over-privileged men whose preferred means of confronting existential crises involved seducing comely young women and then yelling at those women for not understanding why it’s so difficult to be an affluent honky. In the pretentious comedy Move, Elliot Gould plays a put-upon New Yorker who complains about his marriage to the beautiful and funny Dolly (Paula Prentiss), mopes that nobody wants to produce the plays that he writes, and whines that it’s difficult to find good help for moving into a spacious new apartment. In the era of Civil Rights and Vietnam, these constitute real problems? Based on a novel by Joel Leiber and imaginatively directed by the versatile Stuart Rosenberg, Move depicts a fraught period in the life of Hiram Jaffe (Gould). Hiram makes a living as a dog-walker (leading to hassles with a citation-happy cop) and as a porn-novel writer. The character’s impending move to a new apartment is a running metaphor and a source of absurdist comedy, because throughout the picture, Hiram is besieged with phone calls from a moving-company representative who capriciously breaks arrival-time commitments. Hiram alienates Dolly, who finds comfort in the arms of her shrink, and then Hiram hops into bed with a character identified only as Girl (Geneviève Waite), a dippy English fashion model with a annoyingly breathy voice. Given the preponderance of leering nude scenes, trippy hallucinations, and wild camera angles, Move clearly wants to provide with-it social commentary, but there’s no coherence or sting to the filmmakers’ satire. Worse, the protagonist comes across as a neurotic, self-pitying, sexist asshole rather than a victim of nefarious forces. Call this one a case of style in search of a theme.

Move: LAME


Will Errickson said...

I love Gould, but who cheats on Paula Prentiss?!

Sir Sweetstick said...

She looks smokin' in this too! Should have given her more camera time, too.