Porter Stoddard is a well-known New York architect who is at a crossroads... a nexus where twists and turns lead to myriad missteps some with his wife Ellie, others with longtime friends ... See full summary »
Porter Stoddard is a well-known New York architect who is at a crossroads... a nexus where twists and turns lead to myriad missteps some with his wife Ellie, others with longtime friends Mona and her husband Griffin. Deciding which direction to take often leads to unexpected encounters with hilarious consequences. Written by
Sarah Lean <Sarah.Lean@talk21.com>
Considered to be one of the biggest box office disasters of all time. ("Pluto Nash" (2002) is the largest in terms of financial loss with a budget of $100 million and a domestic gross of $4.41 million) Town & Country cost around $90 million to make, and it pulled in only $6.7 million [domestically] at the box office. See more »
Eugenie tells Porter that her father won the gold medal in the biathlon at the 1952 Winter Olympics. There was no biathlon at the 1952 Games. The biathlon, developed from military patrol (a team event held in four prior Olympics), debuted as an individual event at the 1960 Games. See more »
Some funny moments, but not enough. Fun to watch the actors, but doesn't offer quite enough. **1/2 (out of four)
TOWN & COUNTRY / (2001) **1/2 (out of four)
By Blake French: After being rescheduled more times than you can count on one hand, finally "Town & Country" hits theaters. With more production problems than my neighbor's dog has flees, I was not expecting the film to be of any extraordinary quality. It isn't. I did, considering the respectable cast and crew, expect to laugh. I did, but not enough. This is the kind of comedy where we laugh when the jokes are presented, but there are not enough of them. Therefore, we want more, but the movie never delivers-leaving us with a feeling of disappointment. With a budget of over 90 million and shooting dates that range over three years, this film should have been the pearl of the ocean. Although "Town & Country" has its moments of hilarity, insight, and interest, the film as a whole does not quite work.
"Town & Country" stars Warren Beatty, whose previous satire "Bulworth" offered more biting comedy than this film multiplied by three. He plays Porter Stoddard, an acclaimed New York architect, who is having an affair with a beautiful, married musician (Nastassja Kinski). Porter has a wealthy lifestyle and a loving wife, Ellie (Diane Keaton), who suspects nothing from her husband for 25 years. The Stoddard's have a close-nit friendship with another couple, Mona (Goldie Hawn), and Griffin (Garry Shandling from "What Planet Are You From?"). Griffin is also committing adultery, but his wife discovers his betrayal and immediately dumps him-even though she is not exactly faithful herself.
The setup is basically just a clothesline from which other related situations evolve. Although often interesting, adultery isn't enough to develop a story over 100 minutes in length. The movie begins well (after some painful music during the opening credits) but stumbles very early, with its characters wandering from scene to scene with nothing much to do or say. Then the story becomes redundant, with Porter making the same mistakes repeatedly. But surprisingly, there is very little tension involved with the plot, simply because we do not care about the characters. There is just not enough at stake here. There are a few hilarious scenes that transpire when the characters attempt to cover up their deceitful decisions, and the actors are consistently fun to watch, with likable chemistry and energy. The cast does a great job with their charismatic and entertaining performances, making this movie relatively easy to watch. But even they can't bring enough life into this otherwise desperate, deprived material.
"Town & Country" is clearly trying to say that people can engage in adultery without much effort or thought, but it is not fulfilling or constructive. During the film's closing minutes, Porter explains, in a scene much too obvious for its own good, that sex has not filled the emptiness inside him. We never believe that Porter felt such loneliness, however, for several reasons:
1) Warren Beatty does not do a convincing job at executing his character's emotions. All of the characters feel very external. We seldom feel anything for any of them.
2) The story runs into a particularly noticeable series of problems during its last third. When it should be calming down, focusing in on the character's emotional areas, it does exactly the opposite: introduces new events completely unrelated to the material before. We also meet numerous characters that only distract us from the movie's theme. There is some funny material within these segments of the movie, but for the most part, these sequences really detour the plot.
"Town & Country" isn't as bad as many people are saying. It is just a disappointment considering the ample potential. With 90 million dollars, over three years, and names like Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Garry Shandling, Andie MacDowell, and Charlton Heston, we come to expect a whole lot more. I have seen special effects laden action thrillers made for half the cost of "Town & Country" and much less talent, but so much more was projected on the screen. The only thing this production does with its talent and money is prove that raunchy sex comedies can be made with older generations too.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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