review for Beyond Therapy on AllMovie

Beyond Therapy (1986)
by Craig Butler review

Arguably Robert Altman's worst film, Beyond Therapy is an irritating trial to sit through. Even devotees of the uniquely talented director will find Therapy rough going. On-stage, Christopher Durang's farce was a bizarre, wacky conflagration of absurd characters and dialogue with just enough grounding in reality to make their story plausible and interesting. Adapting the text to the screen, Altman and Durang have lost sight of the basic logic that makes farce work. As a result, the film meanders from moment to moment without ever building on those moments. Altman seems to have no idea whom these characters are, let alone what to do with them, and the film, as a whole, is hopelessly muddled. Things are not helped by Altman's patented preference for overlapping dialogue, which wreaks havoc with the timing that is so crucial to farce. Visually, the film is undistinguished and, at times, dull. Therapy does boast a very solid cast, and the leads -- especially the always winning Julie Hagerty and the dry Jeff Goldblum -- try very hard, but it's a losing battle.