Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
Alternate title: Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It
USA, 1970. San Jacinto Productions. Screenplay by George Armitage. Cinematography by Ron Dexter. Produced by Roger Corman. Music by Country Joe and the Fish. Production Design by David Nichols. Costume Design by Vana Carroll. Film Editing by George Van Noy.
Roger Corman combines environmental activism, counterculture exploitation and something of a response to Easy Rider into a flat, forgettable comedy. In the near future, after a deadly gas has been released by irresponsible military might that causes anyone over 25 to immediately grow old and die, a hippie meets a girl at school and they immediately hit the road. Escaping the authorities, they have a Wizard of Oz–like adventure of increasingly bizarre experiences in the parched, post-apocalyptic southwest landscape, including cowboys who have turned bandits, a college football team who have turned the game into a battle to the death, and Edgar Allan Poe himself before finally making it to a peaceful commune where everyone can just get along. Early performances by notable actors like Talia Shire (here credited as Tally Coppola), Cindy Williams and Ben Vereen are perhaps worth your curiosity, but the film is a boring mess (and its final edit was taken from Corman, which might explain this) and much of its satire was done in a similar vein to much greater effect in MASH the following year.