Shampoo (1975) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Thank God for the IMDb. After I watched this boring, rambling movie, trying to recall why the hell people liked it a quarter of a century ago, I started to gather the usual info from IMDB, and found that it was supposed to be a comedy. Aha! So that was it. I never would have guessed. It has a couple of funny lines in it, but most stories have at least a couple of funny lines. There are even a few boffs in Hamlet. In fact, Hamlet is much funnier than this movie.

I don't remember if people thought Shampoo was funny back in 1975, but I'm pretty sure people thought it was pretty good because it was nominated for four Oscars, including best screenplay, and it won one (supporting actress). Hard to believe.

If I remember right, I didn't like it very much back then, either. IMDb has it pegged pretty accurately at 6.1/10.

Some movies are prisoners of their eras, and this is a classic example. Made in 1975 about 1968, it is hamstrung by the cultural and movie-making fads and foibles of both of those eras. It is essentially a fictionalized account of the business career of the late Jay Sebring back in the 60s. He was the hairdresser for many stars and the wives of many honchos. The real Sebring was a notorious seducer (obviously, he wasn't gay), and was among the people killed by the Manson family on the same night they killed Sharon Tate. If the film had included some of those Manson details, it could have been much more interesting, but the story stopped before it got there.

If you watch Shampoo today it will make no connection with you unless you are remembering the era and the film nostalgically from its original release. If you are too young to remember the original release or the 1968-1975 era, it's just a superficial, unfunny, essentially pointless film. It basically just shows the hairdresser wandering haphazardly from bed to bed while he whines that he doesn't have his own shop. His libido is so high that he ruins his career and his major relationship by sleeping with the wives and girlfriends of guys who could help him get his own shop. His explanation: "they really smell good".

I think the film had a certain cultural impact at the time, because it challenged many existing taboos. The context is lost now, but if memory serves, I think it was then considered shocking for a film to show Warren Beatty's bare butt as he was grinding away on Julie Christie, and it was considered wildly daring when Julie Christie blurted out "I'd like to suck his cock" in the middle of a black tie dinner. Or maybe it was a white tie dinner. One of those tux things.

That scene was pretty entertaining. They were wearing gowns and tuxes and chatting politely if uncomfortably, because Beatty was sitting at a table with his major potential investor, and the situation was one that required extreme stealth. The investor's wife and mistress were both there, and Beatty had slept with both of them, so he had made the rich guy a double cuckold. Beatty's own live-in girlfriend was also at the table. Beatty was therefore trying to keep everyone from finding out about everyone else when Christie blurted out her bawdy line and dove under the table.

If the line still shocks today, you can imagine how daring it was 25 years ago. In the context of 1975, in a mainstream Hollywood movie with Goldie Hawn, it must have been a total shock to hear the star of Doctor Zhivago talking like that.

That one line did get me to laugh out loud, but that was just an easy shock-laugh, not real wit.


Lee Grant shows her breast in an opening sex scene. Later, Julie Christie's towel falls off, exposing her breast briefly. Warren Beatty's buns are seen in two different scenes.

There is a topless girl seen at a swingin' 60s party, and another girl in a body-paint swimsuit (softcore star Sharon Kelly)

DVD info from Amazon

  • Full screen version and Widescreen anamorphic version (1.85:1)

Perhaps Shampoo film did break taboos back then in terms of naked hip-grinding and language, and perhaps its daring attitude brought a lot of curious people to the box office, but that is all historical value rather than entertainment value, and doesn't have much meaning for you unless you are a film historian or someone nostalgic for the era(s).

The current entertainment value of the film is close to nil. It is a pointless,  shallow, rambling, unfunny film. If you don't remember those days or the way they made films then, you won't get it at all.

The Critics Vote

  • The film was nominated for four Oscars, winning one (Lee Grant - best supporting actress).

The People Vote ...

  • It was a moderate hit, with a gross of $23 million in 1975.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "this film is a C-, scored generously because of historical significance. It's almost unwatchable now, boring and almost completely unfunny." Tuna says, "I found it a dated, and mostly predictable comedy. It is a decent romantic comedy, and therefore C."

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