S.O.B. is one of the most vitriolic – though only occasionally hilarious – attacks on the Tinseltown mentality ever.
Taking its core from part of director Blake Edwards’ own battle-weary Hollywood career, pic is structured as an arch fairy tale, spinning the chronicle of a top-grossing producer (Richard Mulligan) whose latest $30 million musical extravaganza is hailed by the world as the b.o. turkey of the century, relegating him to has-been status overnight.
With Julie Andrews as his pure-as-driven snow imaged wife prompted finally to leave him for good, while production chief Robert Vaughn plots how to salvage the pic by massive, contract-bending recutting, Mulligan tries several failed variations on the suicide route until a mid-orgy epiphany tells him to cut and reshoot the G-rated failure into an opulent softcore porno fantasy.
Black comedy is a tough commodity to sustain and, after a broad start, Edwards quickly finds a deft balance that paints a cockeyed, self-contained world that comfortably supports its exaggerated characters. Unhappily, about midway through the pic, the tone becomes less certain (especially when it strains for seriousness) and styles begin to switch back and forth.