Warren Beatty had kicked around the idea of a movie about a stud hairstylist as early as the mid-'60s, but in its long gestation from gag character to fully formed script and 1975 release, SHAMPOO acquired the hard-earned wisdom of post-'60s disillusionment. Set on the eve of the 1968 election, but imbued with a Watergate-era sensibility, the movie follows Beatty's serial entanglements with bored socialite Lee Grant, sassy Julie Christie and youngster Carrie Fisher — as it turns out, the wife, mistress and daughter, respectively, of wealthy businessman Jack Warden — all the while ignoring girlfriend Goldie Hawn. Director Hal Ashby elicits surprisingly soulful performances from the terrific cast, while expertly alternating sexy farce with what amounts to ambient political commentary, as election updates periodically intrude via TV and radio. DIR Hal Ashby; SCR Robert Towne; SCR/PROD Warren Beatty. U.S., 1975, color, 109 min. RATED R
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