Dr T & The Women

"Very Good"

Dr T & The Women Review


After spending the better part of his adult life in a storm of estrogen, OB-GYN Dr. Sullivan Travis (Richard Gere) is still a man in awe of women and still at a loss to understand them.

The fashionable gynecologist to every flaky high society dame in Dallas, his overbooked office waiting room is always a circus of air-kissing aristocrats in leopard print hats and feather boas.

At home he has a wife (Farrah Fawcett) who may be ready for a stay at a well-heeled asylum. Also under his roof are one slightly ditzy daughter (Kate Hudson) preoccupied with planning her deluxe wedding and another offspring (Tara Reid) who wants to throw a wrench in the works because she's suspicious of the curious influence the bourgeois maid of honor (Liv Tyler) seems to have over her sister.

And to top it off, Dr. T's freshly divorced lush of a sister-in-law (Laura Dern) is bunking down in his immaculate manse with her three spoiled, hyperactive little girls.

Such is the setting for "Dr. T and the Women," a capricious, celebratory fable about the dichotomy of gender from the marvelously idiosyncratic Robert Altman.

Jettisoning his smarmy, conspicuously self-cognizant charm, Richard Gere is beautifully befuddled by the perpetual enigma of womankind in his performance as Dr. T, a man genuinely esteemed of the entire female sex.

But as the movie opens, his wife's breakdown (the peculiar diagnosis: she's reverted to a childlike state from being loved too much) is about to send his whole world into tilt. Suddenly he feels overwhelmed by everything feminine in his life and even the occasional afternoon of duck hunting with his four best buddies (practically the only other males in the movie) can no longer distract him from the encroaching chaos.

So when he's at the country club one day and meets the new golf pro -- a fiercely independent woman played by Helen Hunt, who seems not to need him for anything -- he becomes enthralled, and destined for adulterous heartbreak.

Characteristically unhurried and nonchalantly wry, "Dr. T and the Women" gives oil-rich urban Texas gentry the same ridicule-meets-homage treatment Altman dealt to Hollywood in "The Player" and to small town Dixie in last year's sadly overlooked "Cookie's Fortune." And although some may interpret the movie's moderately exaggerated caricatures of women as chauvinistic (except for Hunt, they're mostly needy, fickle and insecure), that would be an unfortunate misunderstanding. The film was, after all, written by a woman -- Anne Rapp, Altman's current alter-ego (she also penned "Cookie") -- and the mischievous director simply intends to illustrate from the doctor's point of view that despite all his, shall we say, intimate experience with women, he still hasn't the vaguest idea how they tick.

Altman gleans sharp, unconventional performances from most of his gifted ensemble cast -- although Fawcett is a little overzealous in her portrayal of the loopy wife (or is it just that the casting hits too close to home?). But the film's most lasting impressions come from Gere and from Hunt, who lends an admirable everywoman authenticity to any role she plays.

"Dr. T" has the occasional credibility gap (Gere is so quick to accept one startling development you'll wonder if something wasn't left on the cutting room floor) and it has a smattering of smaller blemishes as well (I don't buy that the doctor's debutante daughters would work as a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader and a Kennedy conspiracy tour guide).

But such minor contrivances are part of the Altman quintessence that builds slow-burn, eccentric humor into the minutia of his movies. And in this case they serve another purpose as well: Preparing you to properly enjoy the off-the-wall, finale of mythological proportions that proves once again no other filmmaker in the world thinks like the subtly whimsical Robert Altman.



Facts and Figures

Budget: $12M

Production compaines: Sandcastle 5 Productions, Artisan Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dr. T, as Bree, as Marilyn, as Dee Dee, as Kate, as Peggy, as Carolyn, as Connie, as Harlan, as Bill, as Eli, as Dr. Harper, as Dorothy Chambliss, as Cheerleader Extra (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.