Beyond Therapy (1987)
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Critic Reviews for Beyond Therapy
There's no special logic at work. The performances are good, but the film has been assembled without an overriding sense of humor and style.
It's a movie in which every scene must have seemed like a lot of fun at the time, but, when they're edited together, there's no pattern to the movie, nothing to build toward, no reason for us to care. It's all behavior.
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.
Robert Altman adapted Christopher Durang's play for this peculiar comedy that can't ever seem to find its rhythm.
Audience Reviews for Beyond Therapy
In the 1980s Robert Altman released a string of films that were based on popular plays, "Beyond Therapy" was one of them. While the film has some laugh out loud moments, some very funny dialogue and extremely spirited and zany performances, Altman's lack of narrative focus ultimately hurts the film. Altman's directorial voice is lost here, because in all honesty, this seems like a direct copy of a Woody Allen picture. There isn't much originality to speak of. Plus, with a film that contains such an array of wackos, you need something for the audience to ground themselves in, and "Beyond Therapy" has none of that- no every man, no coherent arc. This is a funny but extremely unfocused and messy film.
★1/2 (out of four)
Director Robert Altman is among my Top Five favorite directors of all time. So it pains me to give such a horrible review to one of his movies. But, "Beyond Therapy" is beyond praise. It may hold the distinction of being Altman's worst film of his career.
Jeff Goldblum plays a successful New Yorker who has grown tired of his live-in partner (Christopher Guest). He takes out an ad in the personals section and begins seeing a perky young woman (Lulie Hagerty) They turn out to be a terrible match.
Based on the play, the set-up just doesn't work and Altman's usual free-flowing dialogue and structure feels out of place in the constructed story.
It's hard to muck up Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Guest (though Guest would later perfect this gay character in Waiting or Guffman), but the material is extremely hit or miss, and when it misses, oh boy. Altman has fun with cutaways to a weird Michael Berryman lookin' motherfucker in the restaurant scenes, but aside from that he doesn't do much to lift up the material... no, actually, there's a really friggin' bizarre climactic slow-motion shoot-out that goes on for so long it comments on itself, which is nice, but then is brought to a halt by the very unfunny Julie Hagerty. There's a reason now, I guess, I only know her from Airplane!
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