The Love Machine (1971)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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A wretched movie, The Love Machine commits the unforgivable sin of also being dull. Its predecessor, Valley of the Dolls, was a bad movie, but also a hoot and a half. Not so with Machine, largely because actor John Phillip Law, portraying the "love machine," turns in one of the most invisible performances ever delivered in a major Hollywood movie. Law is good-looking, certainly, but he has no charisma, no appeal; this not only contributes mightily to the boredom factor, it also causes a credibility problem. Since his character is unlikable, he simply has to exert an overwhelming magnetism; without this, there's a huge hole in the film -- and this film is already riddled with holes. Even with a better actor, Machine would stink; the screenplay is simply abominable, keeping all of the trash of the Jacqueline Susann novel and none of the wit or bite, and providing the cast with some of the most inane dialogue imaginable. Under the circumstances, it's too much to expect anyone to come off well; that Dyan Cannon alone manages to almost turn in a respectable performance is testament to her talent. Jack Haley Jr.'s direction is wrong from the get-go, never sure whether it wants to be tasteful or tacky and thus ending up simply inept. There are some fashions that are fun to laugh at, but aside from Cannon, there's really nothing here.