31 December 2013 | Michael_Elliott
A Film That Says A lot About Nothing
Alex in Wonderland (1970)
** (out of 4)
Paul Mazursky's second feature has pretty much been forgotten about. It centers on a film director (Donald Sutherland) who scores a hit with his first film and is now struggling to make a follow-up. He has several people pitching him ideas but the director is wanting to do something personal and a film that has something to say. ALEX IN WONDERLAND is pretty much a hippie version of 8 1/2 and I guess it should come as no shock that the highlight of this picture is a cameo by Federico Fellini who plays himself. I think it's pretty obvious that Mazursky was basing this film around his own life since he had just scored his first hit the previous year and I guess this was his attempt to tell people that he wanted to say something important. Self indulgent is something that films get called whenever they try to be smart or pretend they have something to say. Well, sometimes films do have things to say and they come across as a piece of art. When film's say dumb things they become self indulgent, which is exactly what this film is. There are just so many problems with this thing but the biggest one is that we really don't care about the director, his films or his vision of what his films should be about. Nothing that he says is all that interesting and especially when he constantly asks people if they were on an island what three foods would they want. Is that really your great vision? Sutherland gives a good performance in the lead but he really doesn't have to do very much. He pretty much just hides behind his long hair and talks about race or various movie stars. Ellen Burstyn plays his wife and does a nice job but the role doesn't give her too much to do. Besides the Fellini cameo we get another one with Jeanne Moreau, which is strange to say the least. ALEX IN WONDERLAND starts off somewhat entertaining but the more it tries to say something the more boring it gets.