Extraordinary Measures

Things to like about Extraordinary Measures, with clinical researcher Harrison Ford and father/businessman Brendan Fraser joining forces to save Fraser’s children from a deadly form of muscular distrophy:

1 ) It’s relatively adult.
2 ) It treats its subject seriously.
3 ) It treats its subject carefully.
4 ) Based on a true story, it doesn’t much Hollywood-up its ending.
5 ) For a disease-of-the-week flick, it’s fairly spare on the mawkishness.
6 ) It rolls out the sick kids more for soft humor than to tug the heart strings.
7 ) It chooses a rare subject, work. Don’t we all go to the movies to watch what we do every day?
8 ) It’s actually interesting, for me anyway, to watch the details of medical research and see how they play as drama. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch the quiet explosiveness of cost-benefit analysis of medications for orphan diseases?
9 ) It’s a story of two men doing nothing more “dramatic” than bonding over a common goal.
10 ) It gives a realistic portrait of starting up a business and keeping it going. In fact, this makes up some of the more compelling moments in the film.
11 ) Therefore it tends to use natural drama, rather than manufactured drama, to propel its story.
12 ) It gives Harrison Ford something to do, even if it is a bit grumpily over the top. You half expect him to utter, “Dammit, I’m a doctor, Jim.” And no, we don’t want to watch him run wind sprints ever again.
And still even with these positives, could I look you in the eye and tell you to spend money to go see it? That’s what this comes down to, right? No, no, not really.

Produced by newcomer CBS Films, which is exactly what it sounds like it is, the film looks like it was shot on rejected sets for CSI on mid-eighties film stock left over from the vaults of Knots Landing. The product never escapes its television movie tendencies.

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