Peter Sellers as a hippie? Yes, indeed, and he’s in top form as Harold, a neurotic Jewish lawyer in Los Angeles with an overbearing mother, played by Van Fleet.
On the day of his wedding, Harold decides to chuck it all and join the dropped-out generation instead for a life of illicit drugs and free love.
He then finds truth and happiness with his new lady-love, hippy girl Nancy (played by Leigh Taylor-Young).
Despite promising early scenes in which asthmatic lawyer Sellers is at odds with his pushy girlfriend (the brilliant Joyce Van Patten), it all falls apart when Sellers eats marijuana-spiked cookies and becomes a hippy dropout.
Very much of its time, this provided a Hollywood breakthrough for screenwriters Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker after years of contributing to TV series such as The Monkees, and they went on to receive an Oscar nomination for the following year’s Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.
There are many excellent comic moments and even a subtle message in the film.
Jo Van Fleet
Joyce Van Patten