Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA/Germany, 2000. Artisan Entertainment, Screenplay by Anne Rapp. Cinematography by Jan Kiesser. Produced by Robert Altman, James McLindon. Music by Lyle Lovett. Production Design by Stephen Altman. Costume Design by Dona Granata. Film Editing by Geraldine Peroni. Toronto International Film Festival 2000.
This film promises so much at the outset before boiling down to much ado about nothing. Richard Gere is excellent as a Texan gynecologist who is so suave his clients can’t keep away from him, but these are the least of his female problems: his wife (Farrah Fawcett) has had a nervous breakdown and resorted to a childlike state, his sister (Laura Dern, who is by far the best performance in the film) has found the cure for her depression over her divorce in a bottle, his one daughter (Tara Reid) is obsessed with conspiracy theories and his other daughter (Kate Hudson) is getting married in a week but seems more interested in her maid of honour (Liv Tyler) than her intended husband. Along comes Helen Hunt as a the golf club employee with the least complicated life who automatically appeals to him. Anne Rapp’s script seems poised on pointing out the fact that men like Dr. T don’t understand the women around them because they’re too busy worshiping their feminine mystique to see them as people, probably why his wife has gone insane and his daughters don’t really know him, but she never lets the crux of this boil over well enough. As often happens with Altman’s less successful efforts, the sideline experimental aspects of the picture (improvised ensemble scenes, etc.) work better than the main frame, which gives way to a terrible ending that completely undermines what little was accomplished. Shelley Long has a hilarious supporting role as Dr. T’s secretary.