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Beyond Therapy (1987)

R | | Comedy | April 1987 (USA)
This is an insane and fast-paced romantic comedy about a bizarre dinner date among Bruce (Goldblum) and Prudence (Hagerty), and their lunatic therapists, and Bruce's jealous, gun-wielding ... See full summary »

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Christopher Durang (screenplay), Robert Altman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julie Hagerty ... Prudence
Jeff Goldblum ... Bruce
Glenda Jackson ... Charlotte
Tom Conti ... Stuart
Christopher Guest ... Bob
Geneviève Page ... Zizi
Cris Campion ... Andrew
Sandrine Dumas ... Cindy
Bertrand Bonvoisin Bertrand Bonvoisin ... Le Gérant
Nicole Evans Nicole Evans ... The Cashier
Louis-Marie Taillefer Louis-Marie Taillefer ... Le Chef
Matthew Leonard-Lesniak Matthew Leonard-Lesniak ... Mr. Bean (as Matthew Lesniak)
Laure Killing Laure Killing ... Charlie
Gilbert Blin Gilbert Blin ... Waiter
Vincent Longuemare Vincent Longuemare ... Waiter
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Storyline

This is an insane and fast-paced romantic comedy about a bizarre dinner date among Bruce (Goldblum) and Prudence (Hagerty), and their lunatic therapists, and Bruce's jealous, gun-wielding homosexual lover Stuart, and Stuart's over-protective mother, and a whole group of very odd New York characters. Will Bruce and Prudence find love amidst all the craziness? Written by nt.1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It doesn't matter whether you're the doctor, or the patient. In order to establish a successful psychiatric relationship, both sides have to be committed. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Therapie Zwecklos See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$790,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of a number of collaborations of cinematographer Pierre Mignot and director Robert Altman. See more »

Quotes

Stuart: I ejaculate quickly on porpoise!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Robert Altman (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Someone To Watch Over Me
Composed by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Linda Ronstadt with Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra
(from "What's New")
See more »

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User Reviews

 
a curious psycho-comic misfire
10 March 2010 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Maybe Robert Altman needed the change of pace, or maybe it was just because he was in his momentary slump before hitting his stride again with Tanner 88 and Vincent & Theo, but Beyond Therapy is a bewildering effort of farcical cinema. He takes a play by Christopher Durang and 'Altman-izes' it, I suppose. There's the over-lapping dialog, the neurotic personalities, the quirky-cum-insane humor, and the characters that float in and out of scenes like they're on a mixture of whimsy and mescaline. He also gives some good actors some things to do and funny things to say - sometimes too self-conscious to be funny at all, and sometimes so bizarre that it becomes amusing just to see how far it will go. I couldn't say I didn't enjoy watching it all the time, but it would also be unfair to say it's a complete failure. It's just a damn odd duck of a movie.

It concerns patients and therapists, the patients including blind-daters Bruce and Prudence (Goldblum and Haggerty), and their own problems with one another- Bruce is bi-sexual, or bi-curious, or just adventurous, and Prudence is frigid and a little on edge, all the time- and their therapists and people they know. There's not a whole lot of variety in how the scenes play out: there's arguments, there's talking, there's bedroom farce, behavior tics, and a story resolution that kind of folds back into itself just when it looks to get interesting. Some of the dialog, whether by Durang or Altman or both, can be funny at times, or just with the way a character will react to something (the premature ejaculation material from one of the therapists is funny - at least at first until the joke becomes tired), and some of it just... stinks.

The actors do try, or at least they try to. It's hard not to like Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Guest, and in some of the scenes it's equally fun and painful to see them in this material. Glenda Jackson fares better, or just has her own tune to play, when playing the therapist who hates gays and goes through a letter ala dictionary-style to find a word to say. But some of the acting is just weird, and not in a good way. Julie Haggerty doesn't deliver anything to make the movie entertaining (frankly I never knew she did anything outside of Airplane! and Midnight Summer's Sex Comedy, and now I remember why), and what must have been some tighter scenes of sex-farce or screwball comedy on stage have been dissected by Altman, and not successfully. Some of the director's touches kind of work, though barely, like the constant cutaways to a bald dude in the restaurant (Michael Berryman's brother, no?) and the slow-motion shoot-out climax becomes impressive just to see how long Altman can maintain it.

But a lot of this is just ridiculous and stupid and insipid as psycho-sex comedy. Woody Allen could have fared better- or perhaps has fared better- with similar material, and would have, in fact, told a better story. Altman is so fascinated by his warped characters that it's all that's there, warped characters. And if we can't care about any of them, ultimately, even in the scope of crazy satire, why care at all?


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