One of the most infamous disasters in Hollywood history, this woefully misconceived (and quite understandably hard to find) comedy proves to be a disappointing experience. Not that it actually turns out to be a good movie or anything. Heavens forbid. It's just that everything I'd ever heard about this thing suggested a truly unforgettable film, a good-bad flick of staggering proportions. But it isn't; it's just bad-bad.There were loads of movies like this back in the late '60s, as aging executives struggled mightily to cash in on youth discontent before the damned hippies destroyed civilization. This led to bizarro flicks like THE PHYNX (1970), the only movie in history to feature cameos from both Colonel Sanders and Richard Pryor. Then there's SKIDOO, which on paper sounds like shamefully glorious fun: an LSD comedy directed by Teutonic madman Otto Preminger and starring Jackie Gleason. But wait, there's more: Groucho Marx plays a mob boss named God; Harry Nilsson sings the end credits.
But consider for the moment how old most of these folks were at the time, and you get a sense of how misguided this movie really is: what were these guys on that made them think they could tap into that Aquarian zeitgeist? (Or should I say what weren't they on, if ya know what I mean.) Preminger's static, indifferent direction makes you wonder if he knew he was helming a comedy; and watching these old geezers stagger around like decapitated chickens in a pitiful, never-been-there impression of a bad trip is the wrong kind of silly, much like seeing your grandmother do the macarena. Marx adds nothing to the film; he's not very funny (but look what he had to work with), and it seems like he's just there so everybody else can make dumb "I've met God!" jokes.
It's a surprisingly flat, cheerless film, with the cast collectively sleepwalking through their roles. Zaniness is fine with me, but it's hard to imagine anything more depressing than failed zaniness; this is tepid hackwork, executed with little apparent enthusiasm. SKIDOO is just boring; only toward the end does it threaten to kick up some steam. I had a glimmer of hope with the dancing-garbage-pails scene (again, sounds better in print than it really is), but it didn't really pan out.Really, the end credits are the best thing about this movie. And please don't take that as an endorsement. There are much better bad movies that you should be watching instead.