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Final Analysis

Rated R, 124 min. Directed by Phil Joanou. Starring Richard Gere, Kim Basinger, Uma Thurman, Paul Guilfoyle, Keith David, Eric Roberts.

REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., Feb. 14, 1992

If looks were everything, this one would have it all: Gere and Basinger as illicit lovers, Roberts as her gangster husband, Thurman as her sister and his patient and Dean Tavoularis as the production designer. But your mother was right. Looks aren't everything, honey. Joanou, with his puppy dog devotion to noir thrillers and Hitchcock, is hoping to get it all right by painting by the numbers. He's mixed parts of Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, and Vertigo, but the result doesn't even live up to Dead Again, Branagh's flawed movie that mined the same veins of our collective movie consciousness with much more success.Final Analysis comes much closer to Fatal Attraction in its neurotic fear of women. Today, the femme fatale has given way to the nutso freako; she slinks in, has a drink, and the next thing you know she's making animal noises and climbing on the furniture. In this particular case study, Richard Gere doesn't seem like much of a psychiatrist. He has one sister, Thurman, on the couch hiding big secrets and saying, “you really should meet my sister” and the sister appearing to make big eyes at him. Could this be a setup? That Basinger and Gere are going to wind up in bed is no secret, but their courtship is excruciating, full of why-are-they-whispering scenes. At least Basinger gets better as she gets going, but Gere reverts to that shell-shocked acting style he adopts when lost at sea. He can not be blamed. Not only are all the characters unredeemable, but it's impossible to figure out whether his easily hoodwinked shrink is a victim or the most manipulative player of them all. In its conclusions, this movie is so cynical, so evil, that it would inspire despair were it not so incompetent. The plot twists and turns on itself endlessly and incriminates everyone. It's as if the filmmakers are trying to incorporate all the plot details from all the classics they so obviously love. But love isn't enough either. You gotta have brains, baby, and a heart and soul would be nice.
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