Town & Country

Directed by Peter Chelsom
Starring: Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Garry Shandling, Goldie Hawn, Andie MacDowell, Jenna Elfman, Nastassja Kinski, Charlton Heston.
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality and language.

Review by Matt Heffernan <>
April 29, 2001

It seems like I've been waiting for Town & Country to come out for about ten years, give or take. Buck Henry wrote a script, Warren Beatty starring, blah blah, Diane Keaton, blah blah, Garry Shandling, blah blah, delays, blah blah, it's good, it's bad, it's genius, it's intolerable, all-star cast, big-time embarrassment, blah, blah, blah. Finally, I get to see it, and one word comes to mind: blah.

The premise is as old as they come in Hollywood. Warren Beatty plays himself, basically, except that in the film he lives next door to the Guggenheim Museum with Diane Keaton, instead of in Beverly Hills with Annette Bening. His marriage is now 25 years old, and still healthy and loving, but he needs a little piece of Nastassja Kinski every now and then. Well, don't we all?

When watching Kinski playing her cello in the nude becomes boring, he moves on to Goldie Hawn, who is married to his best friend, Garry Shandling. That's OK, because Shandling has left her for a man (not David Duchovny, in case you were wondering). Yet, Hawn is not enough, so Beatty eventually moves on to Andie MacDowell and Jenna Elfman. And then Charlton Heston (playing MacDowell's father) tries to kill him.

It seems the years haven't slowed down the old dog. Which only leads me to wonder: when will they? At what point will it no longer be possible for Warren Beatty to play Warren Beatty? Cary Grant gave up playing himself before the age of 60 -- in order to have sex with Dyan Cannon full-time. Beatty could easily do the same with Bening, but somehow he still manages to make a film like Town & Country every now and then.

So how is this latest romp? Eh. It's funny in some parts; Buck Henry can still bring the laughs when he wants to, but the whole thing has an air of pointlessness. Is Beatty's character supposed to be sympathetic? This is a sex comedy, not a black comedy, and the protagonist should be somewhat likeable. All we know about him is that he's so rich he can still nail any woman half his age. And of course, by the end, we're supposed to be happy that he decides to settle on his wife. Is this for the sake of the American Nuclear Family, Buck? Do we not want Josh Hartnett to go without his fatherly advice? He obviously doesn't need any more.

Town & Country is not a bad film, thanks to the people involved. It's just not a good film, which is unacceptable considering the people who made it.

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Town & Country (2001)

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Review © 2001 Matt Heffernan