Just What The Doctor Ordered
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 04/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Christopher Durang's off-Broadway play BEYOND THERAPY was a triumph, and Durang himself worked with director Robert Altman to bring it to the screen. The result is a truly remarkable film--beautifully played by a first-rate cast, quick paced, provocative, romantic, and very, very funny.Unlike some Altman films, BEYOND THERAPY offers a traditional storyline. When Prudence and Bruce (Julie Hagerty and Jeff Goldblum) meet for a blind date the result is disasterous--not surprising, when Bruce casually notes that he is bisexual and living with lover Bob (Christopher Guest.) Prudence and Bruce rush back to their therapists (Tom Conti and Glenda Jackson, respectively) for advice... but their therapists are nuttier than they are, and soon they, Bob, Bob's mother Zizi (Genevieve Page), and the entire waitstaff of a French restaurant are dragged into the fray.Durang's adaptation of his script is absolutely hilarious, and so many memorable lines ("My mother is NOT a transvestite!") bounce through the film that the effect--particularly when coupled with Altman's "wall of sound" audio style--is absolutely dizzying; the sound design is also memorable for the constant car crashes and china shattering that occurs in the background, a metaphor for collision of characters happening before our eyes. The entire cast is absolutely first rate (Hagerty, Goldblum, and Guest have never been better), and Altman guides them with a very sure hand.Altman's vision always divides viewers: you either like his films or you do not. Although BEYOND THERAPY offers a relatively small cast in a cohesive story, it is actually one of Altman's most visually and aurally kaliediscopic films, and it is unlikely to convert those who find his style confusing and frustrating. But that said, this is a must-have film for any Altman fan, a truly enjoyable romantic comedy with a razor sharp script and a joyous style. A great shame that this VHS is out of print and there is no DVD release! Strongly, strongly recommended."
Parody of shrinks and art movies
Pieter | Johannesburg | 08/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am convinced that European Art Movies and psychotherapy are amongst the many ideas being satirized here. And what a hilarious send-up! The gaggle of dowager duchesses frantically fanning themselves in the French restaurant and the antics of the two psychologists are absolutely priceless. Brilliantly designed and shot, this film is a strange and often wonderful excursion into the world of neurosis and manages to delight, disturb and engross the viewer at the same time. Very sharp, very memorable."
Patience Needed to "Get" Beyond Therapy
Bruce Bush | Albuquerque, NM | 02/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beyond Therapy is a truly hilarious movie, but a demanding one. You've gotta be willing to watch and LISTEN carefully. There's SO much going on so much of the time - and Altman mercilessly adds to the confusion with car-crashes and dish-smashes in the background to highlight the mental chaos of his characters. I can understand how many people would just give up on this movie, missing a cumulative experience that always leaves me laughing. Definitely NOT for viewers who need slow-moving, clear-talking Murder She Wrote-type video "action", but if you can keep up, you'll find Beyond Therapy a little gem of a movie. And, certainly, it would help if you have a somewhat bizarre sense of humor."
Decent play - plodding movie
T. Davies | In My Head, USA | 05/11/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, ok. I read reviews thru IMDB, etc which warned me that the '80s film version of this strange play was plodding, boring, plodding and plodding. But reviews aren't always right, right? And maybe my tastes are different (read: more sophisticated, of course) than the reviewers.
Uh, no. Reviews were spot on. This version of a wonderfully twisted play is dull, boring and boring. And boring, too. Julie Haggerty's usual characterization of an indecisive, insecure, ditzy woman is tolerable for about 15 minutes. Jeff Goldblum does some interesting things, but gets tiring by movie's half.
An interesting supporting cast adds some flavor, but ultimately fails. The slapstick moments were reminiscent of Noises Off!...another play that made a WONderful transition to film with John Ritter and Carol Burnett.
If your local theatre is performing the play, see it there instead. This play can be interpreted a million ways, and it's fun seeing what each acting company/director will do with it. But as for the movie version - SKIP IT - it's a crazy, flawed piece of writing that was not enhanced in film."