5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The good doctor
petershelleyau from Sydney, Australia
25 March 2004
This made-for-TV movie centers on the father of Hollywood Madam Heidi
Fleiss, Dr Paul Fleiss, a California pediatrician, in a treatment which
real Paul Fleiss was a consultant.
Paul is presented here as "generous" and "accommodating", who doesn't
believe in punishment or "set limits" in fear of "squashing Heidi's
This parental leniency, coupled with a mother that is shown to be
neurotic, sexually frustrated and unhappy, creates the environment for
to act out. There is also the suggestion made that Heidi has lesbian
tendencies, since she prefers the company of women, doesn't prostitute
herself, and the only boyfriend we see appears to be a business
i.e. he is a pimp who educates her in the game. (The only nudity we see is
topless women relaxing poolside at Heidi's place). That Heidi is portrayed
as totally unlikeable is redeemed by her admission of the same, though we
don't learn of her fate, since she is charged with pandering and drug
Paul is charged with fraud after Heidi has him sign a bank loan
for a property that she is to live in, and the plot is framed by the
verdict. In the meantime, Paul visits a friend to attend a wedding, which
allows him to reminisce on the past via flashbacks.
Michael Gross' blandness is used well in his casting as Paul, who you
think is an angel or a weak liberal. Whilst having Paul play chess with a
homeless man is a pain, his criticism of his wife's use of make-up is a
reactionary touch. We also get Dr Spock at a 1972 party, the Fleiss'
sleeping in bunk beds "cos the children come first", a cat statue in
apartment, and an expectation of an accident not met by a bird cry.
we get a howler when Heidi's sister Shana is giving evidence with "I'm not
comfortable with those words" about sworn testimony.
Although director Michael Switzer occasionally uses subjective camera, one
slow motion, and freeze frames, and the music of Chris Boardman uses a
guitar riff to indicate sleaziness, this movie sustains interest for most
it's running time. It's just a pity that Lois Nettleton and George Segal
wasted in negligible roles.
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