In his latest creation director Robert Altman (Short Cuts, The Player, Ready to Wear) explores what men know about women, what women know about women and what we know about ourselves.
Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride) leads an all-star cast as Doctor Scully Travis, or Doctor T as the Dallas folk call him. Dr. T is a gynecologist with passions for hunting, shooting and women that are more destructive than a Texas twister.
Dr. T’s life outside, and often inside, his office is dominated by the upcoming wedding of his oldest daughter Connie, played by Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) and reports that Connie and her maid of honor, Liv Tyler (Empire Records, Stealing Beauty), are more than just friends. Dr. T’s youngest daughter, Tara Reid (American Pie), feeds the scandalous reports. This is not to mention that his wife, Farrah Fawcett (The Apostle), has chosen this point in her life to regress back to her childhood. She strips down and frolics naked in a shopping mall fountain in front of the Godiva Chocolate Store.
Add to the mix a crazy Aunt Peggy, played by Laura Dern (Jurassic Park, Citizen Ruth), with three young girls of her own, a dozen rich and crazy patients and Shelley Long as an office nurse with a burning crush on Dr. T. – this is not the Brady Bunch.
Dr. T’s life becomes even more complicated with the arrival of Bree, the new assistant golf pro played by Helen Hunt (As Good As it Gets). When Dr. T’s wife is sent away to the mental institution to work on her finger painting, the only one left to bring some sense into the doc’s life is Bree.
This two-hour romp lets viewers escape from their own hectic lives and say, Thank god I’m not him. Gere turns out another humorous and heartfelt performance and does what he does best: smile and look good. The audience finds a certain every-man quality in Dr. T, making his plight seem all the more worthy of sympathy. Moviegoers really want him to get it right with at least one woman in the movie.
Farrah Fawcet turns out a surprisingly realistic performance as child-like woman. Laura Dern’s penchant for alcohol and falling down in the movie provides some substantial laughs. The rest of the cast turns in solid performances and, paired with witty dialogue, this proves to be a winning combination. Although the ending is somewhat far-fetched and is reminiscent of eighth-grade health class, fans of Robert Altman will not be disappointed.
Dr. T and the Women opens nationwide Friday, October 13.