Very much a film of its time, Robert Downey Sr.’s anarchic satire “Putney Swope” plays now like less of an incendiary social commentary and more of an antiquated goof “ bizarre affectations, such as Downey dubbing all of his leading man’s lines, lend the film an even more dated air.
The plot is simplicity itself: Putney Swope (Arnold Johnson), the token black man on the executive board of an advertising firm, is voted into power after the previous chairman suffers a fatal heart attack during a meeting. Firing all of the uptight, rich white men and renaming the agency “Truth and Soul Advertising,” Swope lays down strict rules and fights to maintain his integrity, all while crumbling from within.
Image Entertainment has polished the picture and sound, including a brief interview with Downey, who also sits for a candid commentary track. Little more than a cinematic curio, this flower-power farce is recommended only for the extremely curious.