Robert Altman is like Woody Allen. Everyone wants to be
in his films. He is the director of Mash,
The Player, Short
well you get the idea. In Dr. T And The Women, the cast making up
the second part of the title includes, Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Laura
Dern, Shelly Long, Kate Hudson, Liv Tyler, Lee Grant and Janine Turner.
Dr. T is played by Richard Gere. Going into this movie I thought
that this would be a typical Richard-Gere-type film and that he would end
up sleeping with most of the women listed above. But I was wrong. It's
a Robert Altman movie and so Richard Gere plays a man who loves women all
right but not in the Richard-Gere kind of way but rather in the old-south
kind of way. He loves women and wants to take care of them. So Gere's character
has been happily married for many years and has two grownup daughters.
And he's the most popular gynecologist in Dallas. But now the walls
are closing in on him. His wife (Fawcett) is mentally ill and his
sister-in-law (Dern) and her three daughters have moved into his house.
His own daughter (Hudson) is getting married. And he ``sees" nothing but
women all day long. His only respite is frequent hunting trips with the
boys. In the midst of all this chaos, he meets someone (Hunt) and
falls in love. Since this is an Altman film, I have just scratched
the surface of all the subplots swirling around. Unfortunately, by
the end of Dr. T And The Women, these subplots have not come together
and resolved themselves in a satisfactory manner. Unlike some of
his previous films like Cookie's
Fortune and The Player,
Altman seems to run out of steam here and the subplots all fall apart and
we are left with a very weird and unsatisfactory ending. Instead
of his usual quiet and compelling story, he seems to have decided to remake
Steel Magnolias. On
the other hand, for Gere this movie is a triumph. He handles this role
extremely well and seems to revel in being the anti-Gere. He even has a
new conservative hairdo. The supporting cast are all great as you
may expect although many are wasted in small or poorly developed roles.
Tara Reid is particularly good as the second daughter who works at the
JFK Conspiracy Museum. Helen Hunt rises above it all in another excellent
performance. She and Gere move through this film with authority while chaos
reigns around them. Hunt is the outsider, the only woman not from
Gere's world. So she is the one who brings the 21st Century to Dallas after
Gere professes his eternal love and offers to take care of everything in
her life. She says, ``What makes you think I would want that?"