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DR T AND THE WOMEN

SYNOPSIS:
Dr Sullivan Travis - ‘Dr T’ (Richard Gere), is popular, professional and under stress at work and at home. His wife (Farrah Fawcett) is in psychiatric care, his daughter Dee Dee (Kate Hudson) is about to get married but should she…so his golf pro, Bree (Helen Hunt) is a welcome distraction. The fact that he worships women as individual saints makes matters….worse.

"Notable by their absence here, wit and meaning are two of Altman’s finest cinematic tools. I blame much of it on Anne Rapp’s script, but Altman is the one who took it on. The idea of a comedic treatment of a woman-admiring gyneacologist in Texas is by itself only workable in a university revue; to get it up as a full scale feature film, it needs much more. Real characters would be a good start. A story – or at least a set of interesting situations – would come second. In this script, we are led on by a promise of a payoff, but the payoff is full off puff. It’s a thin idea and gets even thinner when stretched to 122 minutes. There are male bonding excursions that are excruciatingly contrived and boring, adding nothing to the film. There are embarrassing scenes of pash-push romance between Gere and Hunt, and even more embarrassment when Shelley Long’s infatuated personal assistant to the Dr comes out of the love closet. The waiting room scenes are heavy handed and tiresome. It’s as if everyone involved gave their good judgement and taste a few months off. Altman’s instincts for ensemble work fail him here; even though each of his cast is individually talented, the combination is a unworkable. The multi-voice dialogue scenes are shrill and noisy, lacking the elegance of Altman at his peak, and the dramatic tension is maintained by devices that just don’t mean much to us. Perhaps the title should have been a warning: it says nothing."
Andrew L. Urban

"Robert Altman is among the most uneven of major filmmakers. In fact his work often seems uneven by design, a chancy weave of alienated dreaminess and glib satire, absolutely distinctive but hard to interpret or judge. Based on a single viewing, I'd call Dr T And The Women a highly entertaining, sometimes puzzling comedy that's neither the best nor the worst of his recent films. Some may see patronising sexism in its presentation of dolled-up Dallas housewives, and there's no doubt that Altman and his screenwriter Anne Rapp have set out to bait the audience with political incorrectness: this impossibly handsome gyneacologist is like the punchline to a very dated dirty joke. From the opening credits onward, the film is structured as a series of cadenzas, using Altman's trademark long takes and overlapping dialogue, where suave, placid, fatherly Dr T is encircled and overwhelmed by a flock of squawking, twittering, feather-headed women. The real satirical target, however, is the good doctor himself, who with his complacent sermons on gentlemanly conduct ('Women are saints, and should be treated as such') is clearly riding for a fall. You can't fault the inspired casting of the ultimate Mr Smooth, Richard Gere, whose unctuous good looks have never been more effective. But while the teasing use of gender stereotypes is defensible as part of a more spacious and ultimately fair-minded comic vision, elements of the film feel a bit rushed. The wild ending appears out of nowhere, and Rapp's script relies too much on borderline magic-realist literary conceits, such as Kate's imaginary 'Hestia Complex,' that often don't quite come off. If approached with goodwill, however, this is a very knowing and skilfully made film that's absolutely worth seeing."
Jake Wilson

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

DR T AND THE WOMEN (M)
(US)

CAST: Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Laura Dern, Shelley Long, Tara Reid, Liv Tyler, Kate Hudson

PRODUCERS: Robert Altman, James McLindon

DIRECTOR: Robert Altman

SCRIPT: Anne Rapp

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jan Kiesser

EDITOR: Geraldine Peroni

MUSIC: Lyle Lovett

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stephen Altman

RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 8, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar Home Video

VIDEO RELEASE: July 18, 2001







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