(1975)4.5Lucia BozzolaA sex comedy crossed with social satire, Shampoo (1975) is a vital 1970s Hollywood work. Co-written by top '70s screenwriter Robert Towne and star/producer/avowed Democrat Warren Beatty, Shampoo's witty examination of the Los Angeles rich and lustful eulogizes the 1960s hedonism brought low by the Richard Nixon years, while Nixon's 1974 Watergate demise adds an extra unspoken bite to the proceedings. Along with the politics, Beatty tweaks his own Lothario image as the popular ladies' man hairdresser who may have lots of hair, but not lots of brains. Beatty's beautifully dim George may be what Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Lee Grant, and a comically precocious Carrie Fisher want, yet he and his orgy-attending milieu should never underestimate the power of Jack Warden's Lester and his Rolls. Directed with a low-key gift for humor and sensitivity by estimable '70s filmmaker Hal Ashby, Shampoo spreads the blame equally without over-judging the characters' weaknesses. Proving his mastery of the zeitgeist once again, Beatty scored his second enormous box-office success as a producer-star, and earned his first Oscar nomination for writing; Shampoo went on to become one of the top hits of 1975.