Beyond Therapy | Chicago Reader

Beyond Therapy

Robert Altman's laid-back adaptation of Christopher Durang's bilious stage comedy, about modern life and its therapeutic discontents and finding true love in the personals ads. A bit too laid back, I'm afraid, and completely at odds with Durang's infantile lampooning, though in this particular case, any reduction in the vitriol level comes as a positive blessing. There were signs here of Altman's returning to the shambling expressiveness of his earlier films, though nowhere does he achieve the ensemble textures of, e.g.,Nashville or even the otherwise forgettable Health. He needs more characters to play with than Durang's analyst's couches and restaurant trysts can provide, and simply hasn't the body count to fill in the vacant frames. Still, he makes clever use of space in his odd Rear Window takes on the therapeutic encounters, though I doubt that any respectable Hitchcockian would be caught dead eavesdropping on such psychobabbling confusion. Point of the irony, I guess. With Jeff Goldblum, Julie Hagerty, Glenda Jackson, Tom Conti, and Christopher Guest.

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