Town & Country

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Town & Country Movie Poster Image
Enjoyable but ultimately mystifying.
  • R
  • 2001
  • 104 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Violence

Some emotional tension.

Sex

Sexual references and situations, overheard sex, brief nudity.

Language

Extremely strong language with explicit sexual references.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie includes extremely explicit sexual references, sexual situations, brief nudity, and very strong language. A character has problems telling the people close to him that he is gay. The subject of the movie is adultery and some, but not all, characters pay a price for infidelity.

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What's the story?

TOWN & COUNTRY stars Warren Beatty as architect Porter Stoddard, who seems to have it all. He has a beautiful wife, Ellie (Diane Keaton), who is successful in her own career as a decorator, and he has beautiful homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons. He has two attractive children, and if he is not entirely thrilled with their romantic partners, his attitude toward them is one of benign neglect. The Stoddards have just celebrated their 25th anniversary in Paris with their very best friends, Griffin (Gary Shandling) and Mona (Goldie Hawn). But things are about to fall apart. Mona discovers Griffin checking into a bed and breakfast with a redhead, and she leaves him. Porter begins to wonder what he has been missing in 25 years of monogamy, and has a one-night stand with a cellist (Nastassja Kinski), has sex with Mona, and has almost-affairs with two other women, all of whom end up in the same ladies' room at a black-tie event. There are many, many near-misses before Ellie finds out.

Is it any good?

There are some funny moments, but overall the movie will appeal most to those who are in the demographic of its performers, and maybe not much even to them. Part Woody Allen-style mid-life crisis movie, part old-fashioned, door-slamming bedroom farce, part "let's laugh as rich folks mess everything up while we enjoy looking at their beautiful homes and clothes," and possibly part therapy session for leading man Warren Beatty, this movie may be enjoyable but it is ultimately mystifying.

Rumors of problems plagued this movie for at least two years, and some incoherence and inconsistency may be evidence that it has been recut. It is fun to watch these actors in these settings, and especially welcome to see a movie featuring stars over 25. But the characters never engage us. Ellie and Porter both seem so self-absorbed that it is hard to care whether they stay together or not, and there is something almost grotesque about the way the charmless Porter is immediately adored by every young, beautiful woman who sees him. Jenna Elfman is wasted in a small role, though she does look great dressed as Marilyn Monroe.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about talk about their views on fidelity and resisting temptation.

Movie details

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