Though I'm not sure what my problem was at such an early age, but I was very much into the book. I bought and wore an "ankh" ring just like on the paperback cover, and I remember the ads for the perfume, "Xanadu" that was cross-promoted and featured clumsily in the film. Despite such an interest I didn't actually see the film until several years later. I should have left things as they were.
"The Love Machine" is hands down the worst of the many bad films adapted from Susann's novels...which of course makes it the most fun to watch. Its faults are many: from its hopscotching script that jumps choppily from one incident to another with nary a connecting thread; its dated, horny (brass instruments, I mean) music score of ersatz Bacharach; the flat, first-take performances; the boring sexuality -I've never seen bathrobes featured so prominently in a movie before. It's like a fetish! Whenever sex, nudity or something sleazy is called for, out pops somebody in a blue robe! Very odd, that; and most certainly, the circus train of awful 70's fashions that are on endless display. Poor Dyan Cannon's performance (which is no great shakes anyway, but heads over the rest of the cast) is consistently undermined by the jaw-dropping get ups she's called upon to wear. However, the film's chief liability is the stoic, stone-like John Philip Law as (appropriately enough) Robin Stone, the object of every girl's (and one overthe-top flaming male photographer's) affection.
Law is just awful and performs as if he were pulled off the street, handed the pages of the script in hurry and told to give a cold reading on the spot. Just lifeless! Not only that, but he appears in desperate need of a blood transfusion or something. He looks wan and sickly throughout and is several pounds smaller than most of his female costars. Robin Stone should be a hunk, not a hankie.
For anyone finding the film hard going (it's rather slow by today's standards) I beg you to stick around for the climactic "fight scene." Here Ms. Cannon (balancing 23 pounds of teased hair) finally abandons her heretofore starchy acting style and lets loose with that infectiously raucous laugh of hers, setting in motion a truly memorable free for all that should have become a cinema clip highlight by now. Trying to rival "Valley of the Dolls"'s infamous wig-down-the-toilet scene, "The Love Machine" finally does something right.
Jacqueline Susann's unique brand of trash is sorely missed. Perhaps someone out there owns the rights to Rona Barrett's "The Lovomaniacs" and will revive the genre.