A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
What we have here is a dirty soap opera. It is dirty because it intends to be, but it is a soap opera only by default. It tries to raise itself to the level of sophisticated pornography, but fails. And it is dirty, not because it has lots of sex in it, but because it firmly believes that sex is dirty.
That makes sense. Most soap operas are aimed at audiences who are fascinated by the subject of sex, but who want it presented in a disapproving way.
And so in "Valley of the Dolls" we are given a pantheon of fallen women. They fall because they drink too much and take too many pills, but their main offense seems to be their irregular private lives. The story is so confused that we can hardly keep straight just who has done what, but it doesn't matter: They all do something.
Some moments persist in the memory, however. The scene in which Sharon Tate does her bust exercises, and most particularly the dialog at the end of that scene, should be preserved in permanent form so future historians can see that Hollywood was not only capable of vulgarity, but was also capable of the most offensive and appalling vulgarity ever thrown up by any civilization. I can't believe that scene. I really can't.