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What About Betty?

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What About Bob? is a comedy film directed by Will Gluck, and starring Jane Lynch and Salma Hayek. It is a remake of 1991's What About Bob? Lynch plays Betty Wiley, a multiphobic psychiatric patient who follows her successful and (beyond) egotistical psychiatrist Dr. Alison Fuentes-Forbes (played by Hayek) on vacation. When the unstable Betty befriends the other members of Forbes' family, it pushes the doctor over the edge.

Plot summary

When Dr. Alison Fuentes-Forbes (Salma Hayek), a Mexico-born Cincinnatti-Based psychiatrist with a huge ego, goes on vacation to Hinton, West Virginia, she leaves her new patient, Betty Wiley (Jane Lynch), on her own with a copy of her new and well-publicized book Baby Steps. Betty has a good work ethic and treats people well, but suffers from multiple phobias and is divorced because she and her ex-husband couldn't agree on being fans of Michael Jackson. Dr. Carswell Fensterwald (Peter Krause), Betty's former psychiatrist, refers Betty to Dr. Fuentes-Forbes. Although in a conversaton with Dr. Fuentes-Forbes she says she's taking a hiatus from medicine, in actuality Dr. Fensterwald is driven to the brink of a nervous breakdown from treating Betty.

Although Betty seems to have made a breakthrough from her initial first meeting with Dr. Fuentes-Forbes, she doesn't seem to take well that it occurred prior to the family vacation. A terrified Betty phones Alison, who tells her that she has no desire to work during her vacation. Desperate for help, Betty fakes her own death and poses as a homicide detective to find out where Alison's vacation home is. Betty then goes to Hinton and begins frantically calling Alison's name. Upon seeing her, Alison is upset, but agrees to call Betty at a local coffee shop in two hours; in return, Betty is to return to Cincinnatti via train as soon as their session is over.

 

Betty waits diligently until just after 3:00 p.m. At this point, a chance comment alerts the Guttmans (Erykah Badu and James Hetfield), the proprietors of the coffee shop, that Dr. Fuentes-Forbes is going to call her. The Guttmans have nursed a vicious grudge against Alison, who purchased the vacation home which they had been saving to buy. Sensing a chance for vengeance, the Guttmans offer to drive Betty directly there. When Betty arrives, Alison, understanding Betty's cry for help writes her a prescription saying "Take a vacation from your problems". Betty seems to have made a breakthrough, but arrives the next morning and explains to Alison that she has decided to take a vacation both in spirit and in fact, and that Hinton is ideal, because she has never taken a vacation in her life. She also tells Alison that the Guttmans (who are more than happy to have Betty as their guest) have suggested that she visit the Forbes' as a friend and not as a patient.

 

Alison's family is increasingly charmed to have Betty with them. However, Alison thinks being friends with a patient is beneath her and Betty's presence causes a number of events that shatter Betty's characteristic calm demeanor. First, Betty befriends Alison's Daughters, Jordan (Selena Gomez) and Rachel (Valentina Paloma Pinault). Jordan is a typical teenage girl, distraught over having to deal with a mother that communicates with her through hand puppet and other psychological aids. Betty is able to relate to her in a down-to-earth manner, and she invites her to go sailing with her and her friends. Having never sailed before, Betty is nervous at first, but then decides to try the new experience (by tying herself to the mast while yelling "I'm sailing!"). When an irratated Alison objects to Jordan fraternizing with her patient, she accuses her mother of being insensitive, never listening, and not being any fun. To Alison's horror, she says that Betty is the complete opposite.

Rachel, however, believes that she has lost her childhood (Despite being 3 years old), and has an obsessive fixation with the inevitability of growing up. Betty, having just gained more confidence from her cruise, tells Rachel that problems should be dealt with in a piecemeal fashion, and helps her gain enough confidence to dive into the water (a feat Alison was previously unable to accomplish). Alison, who had just witnessed Betty Succeed in helping Rachel in diving angrily shoves Betty into the lake, which annoys the rest of her family and creates more sympathy for Betty, who thinks that Alison pushed her in by accident.

To Alison's further horror, her French Husband Jacques (François-Henri Pinault) agrees with Their daughters to invite Betty over for dinner to make up for Alison's rudeness. Betty continues to irritate Alison by noisily eating the home-cooked meal. Alison erupts angrily, before choking on a piece of chicken, and Betty performs the Heimlich maneuver to save her life. When a thunderstorm then prevents Betty from going back to the Guttman house, Alison is forced to let her spend the night. During the night Betty convinces Rachel that Tourette’s syndrome is much a better focus for her fear.

The next morning, Alison anxiously prepares for a live interview with The Today Show to publicize her book. She tries frantically to get Betty to leave before the TV crew arrives, but her mention of Betty being her patient allows Betty to appear on camera as better way to show the effectiveness of Baby Steps. On camera, Alison makes a fool of herself while Betty, who seems to be relaxed on TV, heaps praise on Baby Steps and completely steals the attention of the audience, and the viewing Guttmans laugh that Betty has embarrassed Alison, who everyone that watched the interview doesn't even recognize. After the TV crew leaves, an outraged Alison throws a tantrum, kicks Betty out of the house and then, after appearing to have calmed down, takes Betty to a mental institution, signing the papers to have Betty committed for 24 hours.

 

Alison returns home, ecstatic in the belief that she has outsmarted Betty. As soon as she arrives, however, she receives a phone call from Dr. Jerry Tomsky (Doug Savant) from the institution. Alison returns to find that Betty has been telling psychology-based jokes to the staff, convincing them she's perfectly sane. Alison grudgingly picks Betty up, but throws an even bigger tantrum when Betty suggests that they meet for multiple therapy sessions. Alison orders Betty out of the car in the middle of nowhere and drives off, with Betty calling out "What is this isolation therapy?".

Hurrying away from Betty, Alison is pulled over for speeding, gets a flat tire, and is covered with mud from the wake of a passing car. Meanwhile, Betty is given a ride back to the vacation house by a pickup truck driver. It's nightfall when Alison finally returns home, enraged.

Upon walking out onto the veranda, Alison is surprised by the birthday party that Jacques has been secretly planning for her. The sight of her friends, colleagues, and especially her beloved brother Linus (Carlos Mencia) seem to put her in much better spirits. But when Betty appears and puts her arm around Linus, this is the final straw; Alison becomes completely psychotic, roaring to the bewildered Betty to keep away from Linus, then attacking her. Betty however isn't hurt and remains completely clueless about Alison's hostility towards her. Later, Jacques reluctantly informs Betty that while Alison's behavior is inexcusable, it appears that Alison has some sort of unexplained grudge against her, and she sadly agrees to leave once and for all.

Meanwhile, Alison sneaks out of the house and breaks into a sporting goods store, stealing a shotgun and 20 pounds of explosive black powder. Betty, walking down the road, is terrified of being by herself in the dark woods and walks back, calling out Alison's name. At that moment, Alison finds Betty and kidnaps her at gunpoint, ties her to a log, and straps the explosives to her, maniacally labeling the bombs as "Death therapy, a guaranteed cure".

Alison, overjoyed to be free from Betty at last, returns to her house and dances around the yard. Betty, however, is convinced that the explosives are fake, and it's all just more radical therapy. Using Alison's Baby Steps approach to tackling large problems, Betty unties her knots and returns to Alison and the family at the vacation home's dock, holding Alison's birthday cake, happily proclaiming that Alison has cured her. Alison, furious to see Betty again, fretfully asks where the bags full of explosives are; Betty answers that she left them in the house. At that moment, Alison's cozy vacation house is blown to pieces, and the therapist's cherished bust of herself lands and breaks at the family's feet.

In the aftermath, Alison is arrested, has her license revoked, has become completely catatonic and is temporarily institutionalized under the watch of Dr. Tomsky. Later, at Linus' wedding to Betty, Alison recovers her senses just as Linus and Betty are pronounced husband and wife, when she realizes that Betty is now her sister-in-law, screaming a desperate "NO!" Her words are lost in her family's joy at having her back and her Brother's happiness at being married. A title card appears in the end that says:

Betty went back to school and became a psychologist.
She then wrote a huge best seller: Death Therapy.
Alison sued her for the rights...
And Lost.

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