The now 74-year old daughter of Henry Fonda was 22 when she starred in her first movie, a dopey campus comedy called Tall Story, way back in 1960. She played a perky student who puts the moves on a star basketball player (Anthony Perkins), announcing, “Why does any red-blooded American girl go to college but to get married?” (The quote may not be verbatim; it’s a good 30 years since I watched a late-night telecast of the film.)
Fonda's latest movie, a lightweight generational comedy called Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding, opens June 8. In it, she lampoons her own well-established persona as a political activist, playing an aging artist and hippie grandmother in Woodstock, N.Y., who sleeps around, attends weekly protests against the war(s), grows and sells marijuana and bays at the full moon monthly with a group of fellow female Luna worshipers.
All of this puts Fonda’s character at odds with her uptight, conventional lawyer daughter (Catherine Keener) but wins over her college-age, Walt Whitman-reading granddaughter (Elizabeth Olsen, the gifted younger sister of Full House twins Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen). Peace, Love is essentially a formulaic TV movie blessed with a superior cast. The “hippie” scenes are cringe-inducing, as movie hippie scenes always are, but the film is overall a pleasant enough viewing experience, if not a life-altering one.
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