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.
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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
Definitely worth seeing once, just for the off-the-wall goings-on.
The darkest of black comedies, this odd curio is likely to delight some viewers while leaving others completely cold. McDowall is an odd duck of a high school student (the fact that the actor was 37 doesn't seem to matter in the film's lopsided world!) who fixates on Weld, a pretty fellow student who is used to being popular, but worries about her future at the all new Consolidated High. Soon, McDowall is somehow making every wish of Weld's come true from acquiring a baker's dozen angora sweaters to getting married and beyond! His omnipotent presence is welcome at first, but after a while becomes problematic. The bizarre, but ingratiating film creates a world of its own where fathers melt like butter before their nubile daughters, Principals break pencils in their mouths at the sight of pretty coeds and disapproving mothers-in-law are dealt with through the end of a booze bottle. Actually, these points are some of the most realistic in the film! Try an evangelist who delivers his message through the speakers of a drive-in movie or a house with a living room so cavernous that there's a distinct echo-effect during conversation! Quirky touches abound throughout, some enjoyable (the curvy teens dancing ala "Beach Party", the surreal luncheon with Weld's dad), some not (those annoying glimpses of boom mikes, intended or not.) McDowall (covered in makeup!) gives a strange, but intriguing performance. Weld is infectiously lovely and engrossing. Her hair alone, is deliriously sexy. Albright is wonderful and alternately hilarious and touching as Weld's cocktail waitress mother. Gordon, good or bad, is the Gordon that audiences have come to expect. Korman (in a role that screams for the talents of Paul Lynde) does a decent job as an excited Principal. West is adequate as the hapless guy who falls for Weld and pays the price. The title tune is catchy, though a tad overused. This isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a refreshingly different spin on the teen movies typically seen in the 1960's and a knowing glimpse into the old adage "Be careful what you wish for".
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