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The Treatment

As played by the great Whit Stillman regular Chris Eigeman, the pasty, weak-chinned protagonist of The Treatment is a mess. At therapy, he's bullied and terrorized by zany Argentinean shrink Ian Holm, whose methods are more abusive than quirky. Though Eigeman is a devoted, passionate teacher and basketball coach—he could trade tips with Ryan Gosling's crack-crazed educator of the year from Half Nelson—his career is going nowhere. He's wracked with self-doubt, especially after an ex-girlfriend he's still hung up on marries someone else. So it's surprising (or more accurately, groaningly implausible) when a rich, gorgeous widow (Famke Janssen of X-Men fame) who's completely out of Eigeman's league falls madly in love with him.

But Janssen has her own problems. She's grown attached to an adopted tot, but can't bear to tell the adoption agency that her husband is dead, out of fear that they'll take the kid away. So Eigeman ends up masquerading as Janssen's dead husband for a painful sequence that plays like farce executed at the grim pace of a funeral dirge.

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Ultimately, The Treatment is as much a muddled mess as Eigeman's sad-sack protagonist. An increasingly somber tone ruins the initially spry comedy, while the navel-gazing drama meshes awkwardly with the scattered attempts at wackiness. Eigeman's problems mirror the film's: Just as he shambles uncertainly through life, The Treatment meanders along with little focus or drive. Instead of building momentum, it simply peters out as it attends to one underdeveloped plot thread after another, from Janssen and Eigeman's unlikely/unconvincing romance to Eigeman's daddy issues to his unresolved hostility toward Holm, whose character might sustain a vaudeville skit, but wears out his welcome at feature length. Writer-director Oren Rudavsky executes his half-baked comedy of New York manners much like a second-rate Woody Allen film. Considering the furious pace at which Allen himself cranks out second-rate comedies these days, why bother with a limp imitation?

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