The Sweet Ride could sum up as Hell’s Angels’ Bikini Beach Party in Valley of the Dolls near Peyton Place. Though well-mounted and interesting in the spotlighting of Michael Sarrazin and Jacqueline Bisset, overall result is a flat programmer, with ragged scripting, papier mache characters and routine direction.
Tony Franciosa is a beach-bum tennis hustler who is a sort of god to Malibu pad-mates Sarrazin and draft-dodging musician Bob Denver and his on-again off-again girl and adult film actress Michele Carey. Their life is a ball, we are told, interrupted only by neighbor Lloyd Gough, who keeps yelling about the decline of morals.
Enter Bisset, who has a running, masochistic affair with producer Warren Stevens. She takes to Sarrazin, though Charles Dierkop, a recurring motorcycle bum, gets an inordinate amount of attention from Bisset.
William Murray’s novel has been adapted by Tom Mankiewicz into a contrived, unbelievable script about the Malibu-Hollywood young set, which supposedly ‘tells it like it is.’ It succeeds both in talking down to young people, and talking up to older folks.