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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.33%
Worth A Look: 26.67%
Average: 1.67%
Pretty Bad: 28.33%
Total Crap30%

5 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Dr. T and the Women
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by Collin Souter

"Altman's Latest Examines Human Behavior"
4 stars

Maverick filmmaker Robert Altman has said that he has never been interested in telling a plot-oriented story or spinning a good yarn. He likes to make movies about human behavior. His latest movie, “Dr. T and the Women,” should be approached with that in mind. The film consists of 1 hour and 45 minutes of calm, and 15 minutes of the storm, as we watch Dr. T (Richard Gere) quietly move through his mid-life crisis until it reaches its pitch. And you may think you see the ending coming, but, believe me, you don’t.

Dr. T tells the story of the world’s busiest gynecologist, Dr. Sullivan Travis, whose office may be the most relaxed and chaotic of its kind. Women treat their examination as if claiming it as a prize. They want it as soon as possible. While Dr. Travis examines his patients, his daughters (Kate Hudson and Tara Reid) go shopping at the most expensive clothing and jewelry stores in the mall with their erratic and flighty mother (Farah Fawcett). They pick out diamonds and try on dresses while their mother strips naked in the middle of the mall and dances in a fountain, right in front of Godiva’s.

For this, she gets placed in an institution where her Doctor (Lee Grant) tells Dr. Travis that his wife has Hestia syndrome, a rare disorder women get when they’ve been given everything they want and have been “loved too much.” Dr. Travis has been seeing her as less of a wife and more of a patient anyway. He tries to have sex with her, but she turns him down by simply saying, “It’s not nice.”

Then he meets the down-to-earth Bree (Helen Hunt) and takes in instant liking to her. He sees her as “unlike any woman I’ve ever seen before,” probably because she dresses more like a person and less like a mafia princess. She becomes his source of sanity as he tries to juggle his wife’s institutionalization, his daughter’s wedding (which may not go as well as planned due to her same-sex flirtations in her past) and the dozens of patients/groupies who flock to his office every day. Even his loyal secretary (Shelly Long) can’t help but flirt with him.

On top of that, his dense sister-in-law (Laura Dern) and her 3 bratty little 6-8 year old daughters have just moved into his house. Here, the movie gets its biggest laughs as Altman uses Dern’s character to satire the behavior of upper-class socialites who live only to shop and sip champagne, never to contribute or make a difference. She drinks around her kids while showing them how to make cookies and trips over her furs when half-heartedly making an effort to join the family in a group hug.

Altman doesn’t waste time in getting the audience to feel uncomfortable. The opening shot of the older women getting an examination had the women in the audience shifting in their seats. From this moment, Altman has made it clear that he has returned to his roots, leaving behind the more story driven material of years past, such as The Gingerbread Man and Cookie’s Fortune. He wants to get a reaction and fast. The final scene, which I would never give away, got the same response making it a perfect bookend to the film.

While the film asks us to sympathize with an adultering male liar, the film nonetheless treats women as Goddesses, making references to Greek mythology (the protective Goddess of the home and hearth Hestia) and Arthurian legend (the Lady of the Lake). Dr. Travis tells his friend at the beginning, “Women are saints by nature, and should be treated as such.” The only female entity that Dr. Travis has yet to encounter comes calling for him at the end (again, I won’t give it away).

The film also benefits from a score by Lyle Lovett. In the films pivotal romantic scene, Dr. Travis and Bree consummate their relationship in a beautiful one-take shot while Lovett’s “She’s Already Made Up Her Mind” plays over it. No dialogue. Lovett’s songs also serve as the film’s final punchline, a one-verse one-line tune that sums it all up.

Dr. T and the Women may put off people who only look for action and a plot-by-numbers storyline, but should be seen by people who crave adventurous filmmaking. Altman has returned, and now more than ever, we should be grateful.

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originally posted: 02/18/01 19:57:53
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User Comments

3/27/16 FireWithFire Typically, badly made Altman film, on every level 1 stars
11/08/12 Susan Smith I love Richard Gere but didn't care for this movie 2 stars
9/22/10 art FARRAH FAWCETT"S LADY GODIVA IMITATION is the only highlight,of this BORE! 1 stars
7/13/09 the dork knight Richard Gere is tornado-proof. 1 stars
1/31/09 ravenmad Why did I watch this movie? Not entertaining. Estrogen overload!!! Makes women look BAD! 2 stars
10/10/07 mr.mike recall it as being not really worth seeing 2 stars
8/18/05 ES 'I pity the fool-' wait that's Mr. T. I just pity everyone who likes this movie 1 stars
6/19/04 Denise Duspiva Dull 2 stars
7/08/03 Joesco I know Altman is supposed to be a genius but this is flat and boring - "Stars" are wasted 2 stars
6/23/03 Jack Sommersby Flawed, yet it's well-cast and nicely whimsical. Gere is outstanding. 4 stars
3/16/02 Jenny Tullwartz The women flock to him but he's unlucky in love. Call him Dr. Screwlittle! 5 stars
1/21/02 Kiminator Lost me completely. Did we end up in Kansas or what? 2 stars
10/25/01 Melissa I enjoyed it more once it was over. It was too hard to follow while watching it. 2 stars
9/03/01 Graham Wright Confusing 1 stars
5/29/01 OJ van Schalkwyk It grows on you. Desturbing, yet intriguing. See French movie War of the Sexes.(1992) 4 stars
3/14/01 C MacNeil Had me up til the tornado- what was that all about? 2 stars
3/12/01 Mart Dawg DR. B your fucking retarded this movie sucked ass, the ending just sucked ass!! 1 stars
3/11/01 Lucinda Angelucci Couldn't stay awake through this! 1 stars
3/08/01 Joe Dray Overacted, too frantic, and too long. 2 stars
2/20/01 JT Alderman yawn 2 stars
2/19/01 Movie Master Shoulda stopped viewing after the trailer 2 stars
2/17/01 Phil M. Afficianado Some smiles but too shrill, extreme, and stereotypical. Gere/Hunt an oasis. Goofy ending. 3 stars
10/26/00 Dr. B Gere for once totally ruled + the cinematography was gorgeous. But sorta depressing overall 5 stars
10/25/00 Katsat Entertaining & interesting but not too compelling. Gere very appealing & believable. 4 stars
10/24/00 Ripped Off Meandering, boring, ridiculous waste of time. Avoid it at all costs. 1 stars
10/23/00 Liz This movie sucked. It was disjointed, slow, and the ending really made absolutely no sense. 1 stars
10/18/00 TheRock One of the year's worst 1 stars
10/14/00 The Bomb 69 interesting character study, solid performances, the ending was perplexing 4 stars
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  13-Oct-2000 (R)


  08-Mar-2001 (M)

Directed by
  Robert Altman

Written by
  Anne Rapp

  Richard Gere
  Laura Dern
  Farrah Fawcett
  Helen Hunt
  Liv Tyler
  Robert Hays

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