Dr T and the Women [2000]

Loose-limbed and casual even for a Robert Altman movie, Dr. T & the Women has a sly, offhanded wit that makes up for its ramshackle structure. Richard Gere's eponymous gynecologist seems the model of success: his office is packed daily with the cream of Dallas's society matrons clamoring for an appointment, his home life is blessed with loving wife Farrah Fawcett and daughters Tara Reid and Kate Hudson, and when he needs a break from the estrogen congestion there are always weekends to be spent with his trio of hunting buddies. But on a trip to the mall to shop for Hudson's upcoming nuptials, Fawcett strips naked and leaps about in a waterfall. Her subsequent incarceration in a mental hospital (she's diagnosed with the fictional "Hestia complex," suffering from receiving too much affection) along with the ongoing preparations for the wedding barely make a dent in Gere's charming, compassionate demeanor. Then his golf course hires a new female pro who's everything the other women in his life are not--independent, self-confident, Helen Hunt--and Dr. T finds himself with yet another woman to love. Though the minor characters are mostly nasty little caricatures, the film is not the bitter misogynistic rant its detractors claim it is; the problems in Dr. T's life are placed squarely on his own inability to see that women don't need his genteel protection, and Gere perfectly captures this sweet yet condescending blind spot. --Bruce Reid

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