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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > The Treatment

MOVIE REVIEWS

THE TREATMENT (2007)

Starring Chris Eigeman, Famke Janssen, Ian Holm, Stephanie March, Peter Vack, Griffin Newman, Josh Barclay Caras, Matt Stadelmann, Lindsay Johnson, Stephen Lang, Maddie Corman and Roger Rees.

Screenplay by Oren Rudavsky and Daniel Saul Housman.

Directed by Oren Rudavsky.

Distributed by New Yorker Films.  86 minutes.  Rated R.

The Treatment

In Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, the filmmaker does a scene where he plays a director, much like himself at the time, who has been segueing from comedy to dramatic films.  When he agrees to go to a film festival, a whole series of people tell him they love his earlier, funny movies.

Director Oren Rudavsky, making his feature film debut here after impressive work in documentaries (A Life Apart, Hiding and Seeking), apparently likes Allen's later, more serious films -- in which occasional punchlines are only secondary to the introspection and misery of his affluent, urban characters.

The Treatment feels like Allen circa Manhattan or Husbands and Wives (though, honestly, is not as good as either of those).  It is done on a smaller scale and frankly, with less subtlety.  

I will come out right now and admit that I am a huge fan of Chris Eigeman, who used to be the go-to-guy actor for missing-in-action auteur Whit Stillman (they did Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco and even an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street together in the 1990s.)  Eigeman also starred in one of my favorite short-lived sitcoms of recent years (It's Like, You Know...) and did a terrific one-year stint on Gilmore Girls. Therefore, I cheer the fact that he is getting this serious role rather then his more recent bad luck streak of the likes of a supporting role in Maid In Manhattan and falling in love with Jenny McCarthy in the straight-to-video Crazy Little Thing Called Love.  Eigeman's patented big-city angst is tailor-made for this role.  I just wish they gave him a little more realistic character and more clever dialogue.

Eigeman plays Jake Singer, a teacher at an exclusive prep school.  He has recently broken up with fiancée (Stephanie March) and is now in a complete funk, walking the streets of Manhattan in a haze.  He has regular sessions with the world's most confrontational psychiatrist (Ian Holm), a nearly crazed Freudian who holds such sway over Jake's life that he even intrudes on his fantasies and appears (in Jake's mind) to bully him through all of life's problems.

Jake gets a break from his misery when he meets Allegra (Famke Janssen), a rich young widow whose son goes to Jake's school.  We never really know for sure what killed her young husband other than the plot necessity of her being single.  Their neuroses seem to be a perfect fit and the two become friends and then lovers in near record time, before being torn apart by a just slightly unrealistic riff.

While I love both of the leads, the cold, hard fact is while they are terrific on their own they don't have too much chemistry as a couple.  Janssen, who is normally a wonderful actress, feels particularly uncomfortable with the role as written.  Allegra is so shut off from her emotions that Janssen can't seem to get a hold on them.

So, in the end The Treatment is a romantic comedy that is neither overly romantic nor overly funny.  Yet, I still feel great affection for this slightly awkward, gawky, navel-gazing film.  Like its main character, it may be a little too full of itself but its heart is in the right place and despite all protestations to the contrary, The Treatment suffers from a big case of hopeless romanticism.  (5/07)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: May 22, 2007.

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Copyright ©2007   popentertainment.comAll rights reserved.  Posted: May 22, 2007.

 

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