Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Review

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After filmmaker Bob (Culp) and his wife Carol (Wood) got to a modern therapy group as observers, they try to pass on their new way of sexual thinking on their friends Ted and Alice (Gould and Canning).


Opening scene aside, the first 40 minutes of this part-time capsule/part-timeless dramedy is like pulling teeth; when groovy Bob and Carol (Robert Culp and Natalie Wood) attend a new-age retreat, they convert and begin to vocalise their feelings directly, rather than intellectualise them. Cue ’60s pop-psychology clichés endlessly thrown up like blobs from a lava lamp. Then comes a smartly played scene between their uptight friends Ted and Alice (Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon). As they negotiate their sexual politics in subtext, everything thereafter suddenly works. Very much of its time, and proof positive that some stories are worth seeing through to the end.

Once the pop sensibilities are out of the way, this clever foursome becomes more than the sum of its part.