Hippies Are Horrible 

There's Nothing Funny About Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding

PEACE, LOVE, AND MISUNDERSTANDING On the upside, maybe that food is poisoned?

PEACE, LOVE, AND MISUNDERSTANDING On the upside, maybe that food is poisoned?

IF Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding is to be believed, Woodstock is the worst place on the planet. Aging hippies put on fresh tie-dye to bang drums and protest the war, everyone talks about "Dylan" and "Jimi" like they're relevant, and whenever there's a full moon, dry-haired women of a certain age gather to perfectly embody all my worst fears about aging by dancing around a bonfire, howling in ecstatic celebration of the feminine spirit.

Catherine Keener's the big-city foil for all of this, a lawyer who packs up her two teenagers and heads to her mom's house in Woodstock after her husband asks for a divorce. Keener's mom, played by Jane Fonda, is a horrible, irresponsible hippie, and at first it's comforting to see someone grimacing at the fact that anyone would let chickens roam freely around their living room. (Chickens poop! A lot!)

But Keener's credibility dissolves the moment she steps up to sing a duet of the Band's "The Weight" with a sexy carpenter at a music festival. (The sexy carpenter is a romcom cliché at this point—Jesus-y, "good with his hands"—but this movie one-ups itself by also throwing in a sexy ethical butcher, who hits it off with Keener's uptight vegetarian daughter.) Sure enough, Fonda soon sprinkles her magic hippie juice all over Keener and her kids, and we're left with a film that earnestly asks the audience to just consider being a little less judgmental, man. And therein lies the problem: Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding can't decide whether it wants the audience to laugh with the hippies or at them. AT. THE ANSWER IS AT.

Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding
Rated R · 96 min.
Director: Bruce Beresford
Writer: Christina Mengert and Joseph Muszynski
Cast: Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen, Chace Crawford, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyle MacLachlan

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