Movie Review: Extraordinary Measures

Don't hope for a miracle. Tell it to get off your plane.I went into this moving knowing I would come down with a case of the warm fuzzies. The cheesetastic tagline alone was a neon sign of "uplifting family drama". Being looked upon as such a movie, CBS Films did a good job of entertaining and educating the audience. You're mom will love it.

The "based on a true story" film, directed by Tom Vaughan (Super Grass, What Happens in Vegas) is about John Crowley's (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Aileen's (Keri Russell) quest to find a cure to a rare genetic disorder, which two of their three children have, called Pompe disease. Fraser turns to Dr. Robert Stonehill (Executive Producer, Harrison Ford) who is working on an advanced form of an enzyme to counteract the effects of the disease.

Stylistically the movie was CBS doing Disney design. A clean, well lighted world where every room, office, and park is perfectly manicured and noticeably a set; not a place where people live, work and risk. A PG world without grit or sharp edges helping to enfold the audience in the safety of order and structure to offset any discomfort felt seeing children with tracheostomy tubes in motorized wheelchairs (a Hollywood way of showing illness akin to an oxygen tube while sitting in a bed). All accompanied by a soundtrack of orchestral swelling, queuing the audience to the proper emotional response.

Fraser's Ivy-League-Caring-Every-Dad who gambles the limited time he has with his kids to try and save them is well within Fraser's abilities and he is a good fit for the role, evoking a version of his Ben Sullivan from Scrubs. The characters business prowess makes him the straight man to Ford, who the audience is told is "brilliant", "eccentric", and "a loose cannon". He also listens to the rock music loudly while working! But is he a big softy deep down? Only time can tell.

The duo start a research team but soon needs to sell out to Big Pharm to get the funding required to accomplish their goals. Enter potential devils - Derek Webster, Jared Harris, & Patrick Bauchau. Seeing them all sitting at the table together was all that was required to accomplish the idea of soul selling. Watching Ford, and particularly Fraser deal with the consequences and pay offs of the deal compose the last act of the film.

While overdone in style and having a conclusion you knew going into the theater, the fact it was based off actual events, the shortened time, and appropriate casting made for an enjoyable, albeit forgettable, time. 3 out of 5 stars.

Other observations:
  • Sometimes it was necessary to put up what part of the country the characters were in as they traveled around. Other times, like when I can see the exit sign that says "Chicago" it wasn't necessary to tell me they were in Chicago.
  • Keri Russell was a hot mom.
  • Pompe disease has an incident rate of 1:40,000 - more info
Obvious Product Placement:
  • Ford vehicles: old & new, car & actor
  • Budweiser
  • Lowe's
  • Genzyme Corp.
  • Not so obvious: Nike (parts filmed at HQ in Oregon)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.