1 1/2 Stars
Dr. T & the Women is another off-beat offering from the king of minimalism, Robert Altman, marking his weakest entry in fifteen years. The typically assured director has focused his immense talent on a story that feels half-baked and underserving of the time and energy from all involved. Despite a huge cast, the film never finds the right tone, and the array of characters presented on-screen quickly becomes obnoxious.
The opening passage with Farrah Fawcett’s character disrobing in a mall only to end up in the courtyard fountain dancing like it’s 1969 is embarrassing for us and the performer. This is the first misstep, before stranding Fawcett with a medical condition that makes her asexual, in a series of scenes that barely move the plot along. Laura Dern’s amusing portrayal of an alcoholic is the film’s highlight.
Altman has never much concerned himself with the plot of his movies. But his films routinely have a magnetic force and are brimming with people and conversations that are mesmerizing. Both of those attributes are sorely lacking here. Richard Gere plays Richard Gere. And while he is surrounded by females there is very little chemistry between him and his costars. Dr. T & the Women is a dud by any standard, but it’s especially disappointing coming from one of America’s greatest directors. The doctor is in but I’m out.
Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett