Every life of luxury is built on exploitation. A philosophically dense and dreamlike look at the horror show that is American suburbia, told from the perspective of a vain man who, without his money, can no longer get in the good graces of his equally shallow neighbors. The bait-and-switch of Eleanor Perry's script that turns Ned Merrill from a sprightly Adonis to a lowly, pathetic animal is utterly ingenious.
This oddity is an interesting addition to the "American suburbia" genre. The premise is so absurd, so instantly allegorical, that the appeal is pretty much immediate. Unfortunately, by the end it forces its allegorical framing to an extent it does not reach dramatically, becoming heavy-handed and stiff. Still remains somehow magical, though.
John Cheever short story is turned into this over-baked, under written Burt Lancaster vanity project. Praised in some circles as being indicative of the rotting of the American dream instead of a portrait of a delusional broken man that sometimes comes off as downright creepy (the babysitter, the young boy). Worse of all the extremely awful score by Marvin Hamlisch that is as subtle as glass breaking.