Reporter - Cikgu Arep
Bio: On Duty!
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Ever heard of the 'campus' comedy? No, we didn't think so. And after this film flopped with audiences the 'campus' comedy was never heard from again until the advent of the National Lampoon series in the early '80s, which for all I know, may have been funnier than this ever was. After the success of 'Easy Rider' with the youth audience of the '60's, Hollywood thought it could cash in on the counter culture with a number of ventures into what the press politely referred to as 'youth' movies. They were not however, about the joys of surfing in California. This sub-genre included such (forgotten) titles as 'The Strawberry Statement. The Baby Maker. Norwood' and maybe some others that have slipped even my memory down the years. Oh, and of course this one, which may be the best, but that isn't saying much.
Elliott Gould stars as an academic who, previously as a post-grad student was heavily involved in political activism on his local campus. However, deciding to become a teacher puts a spanner in his works and Gould has to decide if he wants to become a career academic, or conversely, a career bum. Selling out didn't seem so easy because, hey, what's the difference! Girlfriend Candice Bergen looks young and lovely and bears the brunt of Gould's anti-Establishment tirades; she gets a lot of sympathy from the audience. This film makes no bones that women's aspirations to get ahead are not as highly thought of as those of men, and it communicates an uncomfortable message to wit, ladies, it's easier for the guys as well as you to stay at home and concentrate on the cleaning. 'Getting Straight' is interesting for its curiosity value; it is a useful snapshot of (hopefully) a bygone era and for that reason is watchable. But this also is what makes the film so dated. I dare any woman these days not to squirm at the abuse Candice Bergen endures at the hands of this arrogant male chauvinist who is as interested in keeping the status quo alive in the bedroom as he is in changing it in the public arena. The comedy is funny enough and a trifle droll, concerning the small-mindedness of academia and the thickheadedness of some teachers who should know more about the world they live in, but sadly do not.
The film does have a certain value that we can appreciate today, but with the virtue of hindsight that technology affords us, Getting Straight' is not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. Or should I say, thought that it was.
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