Friday, February 3, 2017

The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970)

Another one of those hideous big-studio attempts at depicting the youth culture of the ’60s, The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart follows the adventures of a Beverly Hills brat living in a New York City hovel while studying at Columbia and making underground movies on the side. At first, Stanley’s problem is that he feels undersexed, compelling him to masturbate regularly, and later, his problem is that he feels oversexed, since he transitions from a monogamous relationship with the girl of his dreams to a threesome arrangement with two drugged-out hippie chicks. As if that’s not enough, he also gets an insecure girl drunk, talks her into pleasuring herself while he films her, and sleeps with her while she’s inebriated. Nice guy. Based on a novel by Robert Westbrook, who also wrote the script, The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart starts out gently, portraying Stanley (Don Johnson) as a shy kid who experiences Walter Mitty-style fantasies of being bold and seductive. Once things start going Stanley’s way, he becomes an absolute jerk. In one scene, he tunes out a monologue by his girlfriend, Cathy (Dianne Hull), by imagining that her voice is the sound of a tape recording being fast-forwarded and rewound at high speeds. He lays a heavy I-love-you rap on Cathy to get into her pants, then two-times her the minute another woman shows sexual interest. Even with all the carnal content, The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart is quite boring. Johnson’s dippy and unlikeable performance is one reason; with his mouth open in most scenes, he seems lobotomized rather than overwhelmed. The repetitious use of an awful song called “Sweet Gingerbread Man” makes things worse, and the way the story spirals toward a bad-trip freakout is painfully predictable. Excepting perhaps some interesting glimpses at Manhattan back in the day, The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart is nothing but a vapid cavalcade of debauchery disguised as a with-it melodrama.

The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart: LAME

1 comment:

adam said...

I actually saw this movie once. Your review is generous.