I started this review by going through each character and the story each brings to the table, but after about three paragraphs worth of explanation, it is clear that it is not only a bad idea, but probably counterproductive to the review itself. "Short Cuts" is simply about human relationships, all of which seem to be completely unhealthy. The beauty of Altman's script and direction is that this isn't imminently apparent in all cases. Something as subtle as a sigh and a minor roll of the eyes speaks volumes in a film this well done. The acting in the film is, to be expected, great in most cases. Andie MacDowell, though not quite as insipid as usual, is still pretty bad, but gems like Lyle Lovett, Peter Gallagher, Tom Waits (who I am really biased toward) and a fairly fresh and new Julianne Moore more than make up for any minor acting mishaps.
There are not many films that are so involved that I simply throw up my hands at the prospect of doing my standard summary review for them, but "Short Cuts" is one of them. The script is compelling enough to easily sit through all 187 minutes of the film, the ending doesn't disappoint, and the film contains a cool jazz score. If you're a fan of ensemble films, this should be on your list. If you're an Altman fan, this should be on your short list because I consider it to be one of his best. 8/10 --Shelly