Butterflies Are Free ★★½

A thin, dated dramedy about a young blind man hooking up with his free-spirited neighbor to the chagrin of his overprotective mom, this is commendable insofar as it manages to adapt a single-set play (by Leonard Gershe), only slightly opening it up, without the usual suffocating staginess, thanks probably to Goldie Hawn's easy naturalism as an actress, stuck playing one of the most blatant wish-fulfillment proto-MPDG characters in film history and spending much of the runtime in her underwear, but still perfectly credible in the part. Academy Award winner Eileen Heckart is freakishly believable as a meddling parent, but her hard work is let down by the crude, facile screenplay, which puts its three central characters through changes over the course of 24 hours that make no sense whatsoever. Doe-eyed Edward Albert (son of Eddie, who was funnier, more talented and far more handsome despite his son's Ken doll-like appearance), apart from having a lot of trouble selling his character Don as a blind person and a good singer-songwriter (he is every annoying neighbor with a guitar you've ever encountered in your life of apartment dwelling) appears to be completely self-sufficient at the outset, then when a night of casual sex doesn't necessarily result in a lifelong commitment he abruptly declares himself incapable of living alone? Heckart's doting, narcissistic mom, author of a series of patronizing kiddie novels about her son's misadventures and accomplishments, needles Don about his desire to make it on his own and enjoy adult relationships, but suddenly hesitates for no clear reason when he finally cops to her demands. Only Hawn's Jill Tanner is clear about what she wants or doesn't want, and she gets treated terribly shabbily over it, though it's also hard to believe she would spend a morning and afternoon drilling her new FWB's mom about her attitude then would completely neglect a date she'd set with him. It's just another weird look at urban life in the hippie era, like A Thousand Clowns and B.S. I Love You and so many besides, that may as well be about space aliens now.

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