Coming toward the end of the career for Ingrid Bergman and the beginning for Goldie Hawn, Cactus Flower turned out to be a surprisingly fine showcase for their respective talents, as well as co-star Walter Matthau. It's hard to think of a picture that is more inconsequential; the very essence of a romp, it practically threatens to float off the screen, despite a few half-hearted stabs at "substantive" issues (e.g., fear of commitment, double standards for the sexes, etc.) Still, its very featheriness gave Bergman one of her rare opportunities to show what she can do with a lightweight role. She finds depth and variety in her character that probably would surprise its many authors, and is especially fine in her "going out for drinks" scene with Matthau and her monologue to Hawn (in a record booth, yet). For her part, Hawn is playing a role we've seen her do many times since, but she's enchanting - perky, kooky, wildly innocent and enthusiastic, not to mention touching and endearing. Matthau has his hands full keeping up with the women, but he does a fine job and scores his own punches in scenes with each of them. Gene Saks direction is smooth and unobtrusive. Like many films from this period, Flower is terribly dated -- at times, embarrassingly so -- but still fun.
by Craig Butler review