Jokes about an insecure New Yorker’s ongoing psychoanalysis strike us as a bit, well, dated. Woody Allen was doing this routine in Annie Hall. So we were leery of The Treatment, which follows the romantic foibles of prep-school teacher and chronic analysand Jake Singer (Eigeman). (Even the character’s last name is a borrow from, or perhaps homage to, Annie Hall’s Alvy Singer.) Jake’s analyst, Dr. Morales (Holm, sporting a bizarre but amusing South American/German accent), is a strict Freudian who sees Oedipus behind every tree and phallic imagery in every pencil. But just when we were ready to dismiss this comedy, we were won back by the offbeat romantic chemistry between Jake and Allegra (Janssen), the mother of one of his pupils.
When Jake has to deliver a little rah-rah boosterism speech at a cocktail party, his nervousness keeps him too distracted to overthink when chatting with the hostess, wealthy widow Allegra. She’s obviously trying to flirt, but he’s too busy worrying to notice. Ah, l’amour! After a few more awkward encounters, they finally get in sync. Their conversations are wonderful examples of how to write and deliver dialogue; the mood can shift unexpectedly, the rhythm is all fits and starts, and they often talk at cross-purposes. With his experience acting for Whit Stillman (The Last Days of Disco, Barcelona), Eigeman has been in training for this kind of thing for years, but the pleasant surprise is Janssen, who shows a gift for clever dialogue. This is light fare, but it’s smart, enjoyable light fare.