Vladimir Nabokov's witty, grotesque novel is, in its film version, like a bee from which the stinger has been removed. It still buzzes with a sort of promising irreverence, but it lacks the power to shock and, eventually, makes very little point either as comedy or satire.
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What are critics saying?
Kubrick goes through the motions with a hula hoop and the munching of potato chips, but there is nothing intuitive or abandoned about the man-nymphet relationship. The Director's heart is apparently elsewhere. [05 Jul 1962, p.11]
This is not the novel Lolita, but it is a provocative sort of film.
Where Nabokov was witty, Kubrick is sometimes merely snide, but fine performances (particularly from Peter Sellers, as the ominous Clare Quilty) cover most of the rough spots.
Nabokov’s satire is sensationally cast, with Winters and Sellers delivering some of their best work ever.
Brilliant adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's 20th Century comic-erotic classic. [08 Jul 2005, p.C2]
Wild, marvelously enjoyable comedy, adapted from Nabokov's novel.