A bright satirical comedy about an innocent high school girl granted her wishes by a student prodigy. A broad satire of teenage culture in the sixties, its targets ranging from progressive education to beach movies.
High-school senior Barbara Ann Greene has a lot to overcome to reach her dreams to be popular, get a job, find a husband, and maybe even be a movie star: she's poor, her parents are divorced, and her mother is a cocktail waitress. Right beside her, though, is her best friend and Svengali, Alan. He helps her get 12 cashmere sweaters, a job in the principal's office, spring break at Balboa, and more. Along the way, the satire bites teen mores, beach-blanket bikini movies, adults in charge, the country-club set, Christian-youth programs, older men's fantasies, and teen girls' innocence. How popular will Barbara Ann become, and what lengths will Alan go to get her there? Written by
A wonderful weird little movie that's one of my favorites.
I saw this movie in the theater as an eleven-year-old boy, and maybe once on tv more than two decades ago, and it's always remained one of my favorite flicks. I was ecstatic when my sister finally found it for me on video. And after watching it many many times now, I like it just as much, but find it harder than ever to classify. It has: low production values, a love story, teens at the beach, low-budget hijinks, tragedy, sardonic wit, depth and subtlety, really dark parts of the soul, and a wonderfully catchy-shlockly theme song. But all these elements are so wickedly blended that I'm not always sure what's simply a stupid joke and what is jabbing me roughly in my subconscious. It was written, produced and directed by George Axelrod, who has some weighty credentials, including writing and producing "The Manchurian Candidate", so the movie's superficial resemblance to a very cheap 60s teen flick is deceptive, though it's great fun on that level. But the fun parts always carry jagged unseen edges, and any serious commentary is always done wildly tongue-in-cheek. I can't predict who might like this flick, it is too distinctive to categorize, but if you're the type to gamble on an unknown movie that could become a personal lifetime favorite, check this one out.
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