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Artisan Home Entertainment presents

Dr. T and the Women (2000)

"Well, if a gynecologist says that there are no two women alike, I guess that there are no two alike."- Bree (Helen Hunt)

Stars: Richard Gere, Helen Hunt
Other Stars: Farrah Fawcett, Laura Dern, Shelley Long, Tara Reid, Kate Hudson, Liv Tyler, Robert Hays, Matt Malloy, Andy Richter, Janine Turner
Director: Robert Altman

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: R for graphic nudity and some sexuality
Run Time: 02h:01m:48s
Release Date: 2001-02-06
Genre: drama

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Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B C+BB+ A+

 

DVD Review

More than any other type of film, the ensemble picture is by far my favorite. Filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia and Boogie Nights) and Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) have brought the style back in recent years, but the master will always be Robert Altman. Altman, who is known for attracting top notch talent for his films, has faltered in recent years, and Dr. T and the Women is his latest misstep. That is not to say that it is a bad movie—it certainly has a terrific cast and Altman's direction is of its usual caliber—but the script is ultimately what prevents the movie from being elevated to the next level.

Dr. Sullivan "Sully" Travis (Gere) is one of the busiest men in Dallas. He is constantly surrounded by women, and not only at work, but at home as well. He has a beautiful wife,Kate (Fawcett), and two daughters, Dee Dee (Hudson) and Connie (Reid), plus his sister-in-law, Peggy (Laura Dern), and her three young girls all living in his house. Add to the mix the new pro at his golf club, a former LPGA star named Bree (Hunt), who is about the only female in his life who doesn't put on pretenses.

Dr. T's life starts to crumble when Kate is diagnosed with a rare disorder and must be committed to a mental hospital. With Kate no longer around, Dr. T finds himself falling for Bree, who is quickly showing she feels the same way. At the same time Dee Dee is planning her wedding, and Connie is becoming increasingly jealous of the attention her sister is getting. Meanwhile Peggy has started downing champagne like water, Sully's nurse Caroline (Long) is coming on to him, and his waiting room is becoming a "battle royale".

Dr. T and the Women is a character film, yet we never get to know any of them well. With this many roles in such a short film, it becomes hard to focus on one story, and ultimately all of the subplots suffer. There are conflicts that are spoken of once and create moments of tension yet they never seem to pop up again. Another failing is that the film moves along at a snail's pace, but then rushes many elements together in its final thirty minutes. I couldn't help but wonder how much better this could have been had Altman focused the same amount of energy and pacing to the first ninety minutes.

The cast, led by romantic film staple Richard Gere has its highs and its lows. Gere gives a good performance as Dr. T, portraying a man whose world is falling down around him. The women in his life, led by Fawcett, Shelly Long, Kate Hudson, Tara Reid, and Laura Dern have all done better work. Helen Hunt is the standout of the film as Bree; her performance makes the film worthwhile, and it is no surprise that her scenes with Gere are the film's best moments.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer by Artisan for Dr. T and The Women isn't quite up to par with other transfers from the studio but for the most part it is generally pleasing. Colors are beautiful with the blue Texas sky coming across well, and the yellows on the nurses uniforms looking sharp and vibrant. There are a few moments where edge enhancement and pixelation plague the transfer, but for the most part they never present a problem. The main flaw with the transfer is the overly soft look to it. Many of the outdoor scenes suffer from this problem and in the end it winds up being the transfer's fatal flaw.

Image Transfer Grade: B
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for Dr. T and the Women is much like other dramas in its front-heavy soundfield. Dialogue is clear, and the score is crisp and bright in the left and right speakers, but for the most part the mix is tame. Two thunderstorms at the start and finish of the film showcase the surround speakers, and the sub also gets a workout during these moments.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+ 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 34 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 TV Spots/Teasers
Production Notes
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Robert Altman, Anne Rapp, Richard Gere, Shelly Long, Farrah Fawcett, Janine Turner, Tara Reid, Laura Dern, Matt Malloy, Andy Richter, Robert Hays and Wren Arthur
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with Robert Altman
Extras Review: Robert Altman, Anne Rapp, Richard Gere, Shelly Long, Farrah Fawcett, Janine Turner, Tara Reid, Laura Dern, Matt Malloy, Andy Richter, Robert Hays and Wren Arthur lead a packed audio commentary track that heads up a nice set of extras from the folks at Artisan. While some have more to say than others, the track is always interesting and the range of topics is wide indeed. With thoughts ranging from the characters to the production the track never varies from the conventional aspects of a commentary track but it is still worth a listen.

While the commentary track is indeed the bright point, an eleven-minute promotional featurette is less involving. Featuring interviews with the cast and the crew, this featurette doesn't break new ground. Also included is a fifteen-minute interview with Robert Altman.

The theatrical trailer, five television spots as well as production notes and cast and crew bios round out the extra features.

Extras Grade: A+
 

Final Comments

If you are a Robert Altman fan there should be very little doubt that you will like Dr. T and the Women. The audio and video transfers are adequate, and the thanks to some interesting extras this disc is worth a look. Rent it and see what you think.

Kevin Clemons 2001-02-25