Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Love Machine" Thuds to a Halt

Cleveland Press August 28, 1971

"Don't forget the color of corn is pure gold," one TV executive says wisely to another.

Well, sir, there's corn and there's corn. Some of it is pure gold and some isn't and "The Love Machine" is the kind of corn that isn't.

Since it is based on Jacqueline Susann's novel about the television industry and since the book sold so well the picture may do some initial business.

But the word is soon going to get around about just how dull this is and that will kill it faster than any bad review.

Since the movie is all about TV and sex you wouldn't think dull would be the word for it but it is. Seems some people can't even make lively bad movies.

John Phillip Law plays the TV news caster who makes it up the success ladder via a shortcut through the bedroom of the chairman of the board's wife. Aside from the fact that he smiles occasionally, there is little difference between this and the actor's previously expressionless portrayals.

Dyan Cannon plays the trampy wife and she's about the only one among the major performers who makes anything of her role.

Good but wasted are Robert Ryan as the chairman, Jackie Cooper as the network president.

Aside from Law's lackluster performance, there is nothing in the part to suggest the power of the man. The script says he is a bedroom athlete and that he is ambitious but the character is never explained.

He drives one girl to suicide, makes Miss Cannon mad enough to set his apartment afire while he cavorts in another room with a couple of maidens and there are a couple of homosexual types who find him irresistible.

At the end you think he is undone but you never really know, and hardly care.

And maybe that's the big trouble with "The Love Machine" -- you never really care.