WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT FEELING GOOD? (1968)
Article #1007 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-17-2003
Posting Date: 5-15-2004
Directed by George Seaton
Featuring George Peppard, Mary Tyler Moore, Don Stroud
A toucan carrying a virus gets loose in New York City. The virus has only one symptom; it leaves its victim in a state of euphoria.
This is one of those curious little movies that really could have only been made during the late sixties. It’s subject matter is definitely summer of love / hippie material, and I found it a little curious that it chooses as its primary focus not the effect it would have on the class of corporate conformists that would be the expected target, but rather its effect on a group of doom-and-gloom obsessed beatniks, a social group that must certainly have been passe at this time. This decision has an unfortunate effect; it strips the concept of some of its satirical clout, though not completely; the satirical aspects of the movie are too strong to be ignored, and mostly manifest themselves in the scenes in the bunker, with Dom DeLuise as a government man sent to the scene to combat the plague. The satire is also weakened by the movie’s incessant cuteness, in particular by the decision to give the bird dialogue (by means of comic strip-like word balloons) and it’s reliance on slapstick setpieces on occasion (the main couple tries to smuggle the bird past the police by disguising it as the woman’s pregnancy). Nevertheless, the movie still has its moments, and I particularly enjoyed George Furth’s performance as DeLuise’s “administrative assistant” and a cameo by Thelma Ritter.