Dr T & the Women
dir Robert Altman
scr Anne Rapp
with Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Shelley Long, Laura Dern, Kate Hudson, Tara Reid, Liv Tyler, Lee Grant, Janine Turner, Robert Hays, Andy Richter
release US 13.Oct.00; UK 6.Jul.01
00/US 2h02

2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Robert Altman continues his uneven career, following the terrific Cookie's Fortune with a less successful dramatic comedy by the same screenwriter. Even so, a weak Altman film is better than 80 percent of the other films out there. Dr Sullivan Travis (Gere), aka Dr T, is the most beloved gynaecologist in Dallas ... and he has a genuine, wholesome love of women. Good thing, since he's surrounded by them! But his world starts to unravel when his wife (Fawcett) has a nervous breakdown as their oldest daughter Kate (Hudson) prepares for her wedding. Younger daughter Connie (Reid), a conspiracy theorist, feels a bit left out and starts looking into what's really going on between Kate and her maid of honour (Tyler), while Aunt Peggy (Dern) starts drinking just a bit too much champagne, all the time. Meanwhile at his practice, head nurse Carolyn (Long) is trying to juggle the increasingly demanding patients while controlling her lust for the good doctor. Then at the golf club a new pro (Hunt) catches Dr T's eye.

There's a lot of excellent stuff in the script--an intriguing examination of the sexes with a very fresh spin on it. Altman sustains the sunny, comic tone without ever drifting into outright comedy, and the actors all create living, breathing, believable characters. Gere is charming as expected as the perfect man confused about life for the first time. And all of the actresses are solid, even if none of their characters ever quite transcend the screen. Fawcett is the most intriguing; Dern the most over-the-top. Hunt is effective yet again in virtually the same role she always plays. Overall, the film is just too long and fragmented to work, refusing to get to the point of the matter (and it's obvious there is one) until the big, highly symbolic and far too improbable climax, followed by an astonishing scene that the producers insist is a big screen first. But even that's not good enough to save the film from mediocrity.
themes, language cert 12 7.Jun.01

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"Dr T (Gere) is an OBGYN, or 'one of the good kind,' as one of the golf store clerks observes. He loves women, thinks they are all special in their own unique way, and his patients adore him. You see him complimenting women on their new hairdo, or a new style, things their own husbands don't notice. Long is his office manager, secretly in love with the good doctor. Life is good at work, business is booming. But the homefront is a different story - his wife, Kate (Fawcett) suffers from a rare disorder caused from having too perfect a life and being loved too much. Weird when being loved by your husband is a bad thing. His one daughter is getting married, while he suspects the other is jealous. There are lots of women in this movie, and one man who thinks he understands them and feels they should all be more appreciated - only his own personal life is falling apart. Then he meets Hunt, a golf pro unlike any woman he has ever met, and is immediately attracted to her. I did like this movie, the characters all seemed to be having fun and all the parts come together at the wedding. This just proves that a man can't really understand women, because he is not one. So he is only fooling himself if he thinks he does." --Laurie T, Minneapolis.
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall