Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Reviews
In this R-rated comedy, newly "enlightened" couple Bob and Carol (Robert Culp, Natalie Wood) return from a weekend retreat and chastise their closest friends, Ted and Alice, for not coming to grips with their true feelings.
Granted, a hippie dippy retreat weekend and one or two period hiccups (Gould and the tsk-tsking but beautifully game Dyan Cannon don't seen to know how birth control pills work) ages things a bit, but no more than Gordon Gekko's gi-normous 'mobile' phone in Wall Street. Marsursky's confident chance taking, however, never fared any better than in this classic. Just look to the closer, which finds Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice & countless souls commiserating in a warm 4th wall-breaking gathering to Jackie DeShannon's "What the World Needs Now is Love" (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for this film, mind you). Like the film, this songs stays with you and brings home the whole point--free or at great cost, we all need the L-Word, wherever however.
Bottom line: Still H'Wood Swinging
Half satire, half honest social documentary, Paul Mazursky's brilliant and funny portrayal of late sixties era swingers walks so many fine lines between ridiculous and believable and character study and caricature study that his work bespeaks remarkable intelligence. It's hard to classify this film because it "swings" so deftly between genres and characterizations -- a remarkably flexible film.
The performances are all incredible. Natalie Wood, playing against type, contrasts the natural innocence of her face and demeanor with the sexual freedom of her character, and I can't help but repeat: if there is a heaven and it doesn't involve being loved by Natalie Wood, I'll be disappointed.
Overall, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice both reveres and lampoons the late sixties and serves as a monument to the talents of its contributors.