I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! Movie Review

Peter Sellers made a lot of good movies, and history has been kind enough to purge the memory of the bad ones from our collective minds. The painfully titled I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! is one of those bad ones, the kind I'd now -- having just sat through it -- would prefer to forget altogether.

The setup is straight out of a '60s sitcom: Harold Fine (Sellers) is a stuffy lawyer. He re-encounters his dippy hippie brother Herbie (David Arkin) to take him to a funeral, and is immediately disgusted by his free-living ways. But when Herbie's pal Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young) concocts a batch of pot brownies, Harold suddenly goes nuts for the hippie life. He turns his apartment into a love shrine, where he and Nancy can, well, eat a lot of pot brownies. Will he tire of this in the end and go back to his wife-to-be (whom he left at the altar to head off with Nancy)? Who cares?

The film, in case your wondering, has nothing to do with Alice B. Toklas, but owes itself to a throwaway line about the brownies' recipe being Toklas' originally. It is followed by a horrible song -- with four lines in it, two of which are "I love you Alice B. Toklas" -- which I am horrifically unable to get out of my head.

Sellers does his best with cheap material, but it is oddly Arkin who does the best work as the wry-yet-lovin' brother, even though he utterly vanishes halfway through the movie. The only truly memorable scene is when Herbie arrives, dressed for the funeral in a "traditional Hopi burial outfit." When Harold pushes back, Herbie offers to either remove the feather in his hair or the face paint on his cheeks. His sparring with Harold is absurdly funny, and a reminder of how uninteresting the rest of the film manages to be.

Cast & Crew

Director : Hy Averback

Producer : Charles H. Maguire


Comments

I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 1968

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