Jerry Mulligan is so annoyingly male. My ultimate fantasy is that a beautiful, blonde benefactor will come along and, uh, "sponsor" my mediocre writing so I can quit my jobs and focus full-time on this art thing. Jerry, however, is righteously insecure about his own talent and refuses to cede his so-called "male initiative" to a powerful woman. Instead, Jerry's fragile male ego yearns for the much-younger girl behind the perfume counter, a doe-eyed naif whose nineteen years never threaten his masculine autonomy. This, despite the obvious sexual chemistry between Jerry and Ms. Roberts ("That's quite a dress you have on. What holds it up?" "Modesty."). Whatever. Jerry couldn't handle Milo anyway. I, on the other hand, am available to be your sugar baby any day.
Its many shortcomings aside, the production is incredible--that finale!--and Nina Foch creates a nuanced portrait of mature female desire despite the film's best efforts to diminish her character.