Taking Off

Director: MiloŇ° Forman
Year Released: 1971
Rating: 2.0

There's an 'epidemic' of sorts going on in America in the 1970's involving teenagers running away from their parents, which includes Jeannie (Linnea Heacock), whose supposed disappearance leads her parents (Buck Henry and Lynn Carlin) to half-heartedly go out looking for her, but instead just drink too much, smoke pot and play strip poker with another couple.  Forman's American debut might be a curious watch as a time-piece from the Vietnam Era, where there was significant disconnect between adults and teenagers, but it plays out awkwardly (and unevenly): the first twenty minutes consists of many young ladies auditioning for some musical contest (this includes Carly Simon and the great Kathy Bates) which makes you think it's going to be one kind of movie, then it goes back to the stuffy adults and all their long pauses and staring.  The scene where Vincent Schiavelli (as himself?) teaches clueless parents how to 'use' marijuana ("take the impulse and move with it") is justly famous, but I'm not sure what the movie's trying to say: that parents should try to be "hip" like their kids?  That they should be okay with their daughter bringing home some long-haired musician?  Or that there is no good time to try to quit smoking?