THE PERFECT COUPLE-AMC Academy 2, Baronet West 1, K-B Janus 1, Landover 2, Roth's Silver Spring East and, starting Wednesday, Roth's Tysons 4.
Robert Altman's losing streak contines with "The Perfect Couple," a film about computer dating that inadvertently demonstrates that people are interchangeable, so it really doesn't matter who is matched with whom.
The intention seems to have been to dramatize the theme of We Come From Different Worlds by pairing off a middle-aged man, firmly enmeshed in an extended Greek-American family, with a rootless young woman who's a detached member of an unrelated commune. He likes classical music; she sings rock.
Simple enough, but such a plot might have worked if they had fallen enthusiastically in love only to find that a detail, such as their differing levels of noise toleration, drove them aprat. But Altman uses simple farce, instead, to keep them from consummating the relationship, having them interrupted by visitors every time they are settling into bed.
It can't be character or taste that divides them, because neither of these lethargic lovers, somnambulistically played by Paul Dooley Marta heflin, has any. It's plain that classical music really bores him, and that he has no real feeling for any members of his absurdly dictatorial family; she has the same lack of emotions for her music and her colleagues.
So it merely becomes a question of my place or yours, and the film concerns itself with the "problem" of neither place being available.
It seems a sufficient excuse for asking the computer to try again.