After the success of his first film, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), Alex in Wonderland found director Paul Mazursky already mulling over the big question of art vs. commerce in Hollywood. As he wavers over his next project, Mazursky avatar Donald Sutherland has flights of fancy that nod to the European art cinema (Federico Fellini politely throws Sutherland's Alex out of his editing room) as well as to contemporary social troubles. Though Alex's monologues provide flashes of humor and his lunch with unctuous Chagall-owning Hollywood producer Hal Stern is truly inspired, the majority of Alex's dilemma comes off as too pretentiously self-involved for Mazursky's own good. Opening to mediocre reviews with little fanfare or studio, Alex in Wonderland flopped. Mazursky's New York Critics Circle award for his brief supporting performance as Stern was minimal comfort.