We were admonished by a studio rep at the beginning of Dr. T and the Women not to spoil the plot twists in our review. Well, I'm going to spoil one right now by telling you this: Mr. T does not appear in this movie!
Richard Gere as "Doctor T"? Please. I pity da fool who messes with Mr. T!
But I digress.
Dr. T and the Woman is the relatively harmless tale of the aforementioned Texas gynecologist (Gere) and the women who surround him. His wife (Farrah Fawcett) is a nut job with a psychiatric illness so rare and strange (it makes her act childish) that it can only be fictional. His sister-in-law (Laura Dern, barely recognizable) is a high-society drunk. His head nurse (and he has about a dozen of them), played by Shelley Long, secretly has a crush on him. The local golf pro (Helen Hunt) is a dangerous temptation against his wedding vows. His daughter Connie (Tara Reid) is a JFK conspiracy theorist. And his other daughter Dee Dee (the square-jawed Kate Hudson) is a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader wannabe who's about to get married in one of the most seamless weddings ever planned, especially considering every member of her family is either drunk, crazy, or poring over uteruses all day.
Dee Dee's wedding drives much of the action in the film, and the place settings would have been required in order to follow the who's-who of Dr. T, if not for the fact that every character is a shallow stereotype that merits little more description than given above. From the moment we see a naked Farrah (and there's an awful lot of nudity in Dr. T for what is, essentially, a women's picture) frolicking in a public fountain, we know we're going to be calling most of the action before it happens. Ultimately, Dr. T and the Women is a messy tangle of estrogen and errant plotlines. And let's just say that you'd better prepare yourself in advance to witness a graphically real childbirth. Real enough, anyway.
What Dr. T lacks in character development and story line it makes up to some degree in charm. Most notably, the film pegs Southern Gaudy to a T (no pun intended), and ironically, the frequent and kitschy scenes with Dr. T's (male) hunting buddies are the best part of the movie. An intrusive score doesn't help matters, though, and Anne Rapp's screenplay (Rapp had better luck with last year's Cookie's Fortune, also for Altman) isn't likely to win any awards. One also has to question Altman's casting judgment: Will Dr. T be the film that revives Shelley Long's long-deceased career? And Farrah Fawcett? Um, no.
In the end, Dr. T's observations about life and love amount to the rather plain insight that a bunch of chicks can drive you nuts. Believe me, this I already know.
Run time: 122 mins
In Theaters: Friday 13th October 2000
Box Office USA: $12.1M
Distributed by: Artisan Entertainment
Production compaines: Sandcastle 5 Productions, Artisan Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 46
IMDB: 4.6 / 10
Director: Robert Altman
Screenwriter: Anne Rapp
Starring: Richard Gere as Dr. T, Helen Hunt as Bree, Liv Tyler as Marilyn, Kate Hudson as Dee Dee, Farrah Fawcett as Kate, Laura Dern as Peggy, Shelley Long as Carolyn, Tara Reid as Connie, Robert Hays as Harlan, Matt Malloy as Bill, Andy Richter as Eli, Lee Grant as Dr. Harper, Janine Turner as Dorothy Chambliss, Sarah Shahi as Cheerleader Extra (uncredited)
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