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‘Final Analysis’

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 07, 1992


Phil Joanou
Richard Gere;
Kim Basinger;
Uma Thurman;
Eric Roberts;
Paul Guilfoyle;
Keith David
a sexy scene and profanity

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"Final Analysis," an implausible psycho thriller with Kim Basinger, Uma Thurman and Richard Gere, has so many twists, turns and backward leaps, the actors tackle their work like trained poodles in a circus act. Written by "Cape Fear's" Wesley Strick, the sexy scenario plays the three lookers off against each other in a maze of mind games with a moral courtesy of "Fatal Attraction."

Gere is not anybody's idea of a psychotherapist, but he is the movie's executive producer. Both cute and caring in the role of Isaac Barr, he is a self-possessed psychiatrist who can read people so readily he "just wants to be surprised." The incredible head-shrinking man is soon caught unawares -- and without pants -- in a web spun by a seductive patient, Diana (Thurman), and her irresistible sister, Heather (Basinger). Like Barbra Streisand, and others in movie mental health, the doctor has a teensy problem with medical ethics. But he convinces himself that there's no law against sleeping with a patient's relatives. Never mind that Diana has confided that she is a creepy caterpillar, while Heather is a butterfly -- not to mention a married butterfly.

Isaac can't stop himself because he's a man who hasn't had a date in a while and Heather's not only beautiful, she's trapped in an abusive marriage with a pinwheel-eyed racketeer (Eric Roberts). His friends and colleagues try to talk some sense into Isaac: "Fooling around with his wife is like teasing King Kong," says one. "A shrink with a weakness for unhappy women is a cliche," observes another. But he is so crazy in love, he not only indulges in unsafe sex with Heather, but also antagonizes her psychotic husband.

Meanwhile, jealous sister Diana has taken to carrying a pistol to her sessions with Isaac. Then Heather starts to manifest symptoms of a weird movie disease called "pathological intoxication" -- she becomes insanely drunk on anything stronger than Scope. All the makings for a six-sided love triangle are now in place and that's not counting the odd man out -- Barr's lawyer, a legal hot dog played with relish, ketchup and mustard by Paul Guilfoyle, who wastes no time taking this project seriously. He realizes, even if nobody else does, that "Final Analysis" is an unintentional sendup of Hitchcock. Bits of dialogue will be familiar to fans of Hitchcock's "Vertigo," as will the look of the production, particularly the abandoned lighthouse that stands in for the chapel tower where another Kim likewise flirted with disaster. (Sometimes a lighthouse is just a lighthouse -- yeah really.) Maybe director Phil Joanou meant it as a homage to the master of suspense, or maybe he just doesn't have any of his own ideas.

But at least this film has a reasonable pace, several enjoyable performances and such unforgettable lines as this one delivered by Heather's hubby over dinner in a fancy restaurant: "Hey, look at me chewing on a pancreas."

In the "Final Analysis," we can only conclude it's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

"Final Analysis" is rated R for a sexy scene and profanity.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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