Thats Not Acting

Patient: Town and Country

Profile: Warren Beatty stars in this stunningly bad flick about rich old coots who cheat on their wives, feel bad about it and then do it some more. Think Shampoo meets Ishtar meets Cocoon.

Symptoms: Hopefully, the reported $120 million the producers had to play with on this film was used on hookers, tech stocks and anthrax-laden blankets because anything spent on the script was tragically wasted. Town and Country is not spectacularly bad (Cleopatra) or even surreally bad (Plan Nine From Outer Space). Town and Country is bad the way standing in line at the DMV is bad. What's amazing is that for so much money, star power and reported rewrites, the plot is absolutely wee: guy cheats on wife. Other guy cheats on wife. Nastassja Kinski plays the cello naked. Wrap!What apparently was supposed to be some measured Ernst Lubitsch take on manners and marriage resorts to jokes about funny-talking foreigners and fat people getting hit in the ass. I liked this movie a lot more the first time they made it—when it was called The Three Stooges.

Script Doctor

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Diagnosis: Not to put too fine a point on it, but in its first week of release, Town and Country finished seventh at the box office, behind Blow(which it does) and ahead of Forsaken (which it is).

Prescription: At this point, I feel like Script Dr. Noguchi. This movie was DOA. But, okay, I took an oath. Look, don't make the characters fabulously wealthy. We find these people annoying enough as it is. Oh, gee, the rich have problems having too much sex. Most important, make up your mind about the kind of movie you want to make: Are you going for a serious take on betrayal and its harsh, sometimes tragic consequences, like, say, Damage or Every French Film I've Ever Seen? Or do you want to take a funny look at infidelity, full of misunderstandings and double entendres such as in Unfaithfully Yours or The Starr Report?

Prognosis: I'm the Script Doctor, not Benny Hinn.

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