“a touching look at the spirit of the human will”

Movies that are inspired by true stories need a couple of elements. First, there needs to be some truth to it. Second, it has to be engaging enough to move us or entertain us. The new flick EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES has a sprinkling of the first element and a large dose of the second. The question that remains is if the movie is theater worthy or one that you can wait and experience in the comfort of your own home. With its “made for TV” style of writing and production at war with its strong message of renewed hope and touching look at the spirit of the human will, the decision is not an easy one to make.

Based on the powerful, Non Fiction book “”The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million – And Bucked the Medical Establishment – in a Quest to Save His Children” the film stars Brendan Fraser (John Crowley) and Keri Russell (Aileen Crowley) as the real life Crowley couple who have two children with a rare genetic disorder. Harrison Ford (Dr. Robert Stonehill) is the fictional researcher who helps John in his fight to get a new drug to market. Ford described his character as “an amalgam of people. Basically he does not have a lot of social skills so this helps build up the dramatic tension between him and the passionate John.” This relationship adds lighter moments that are good relief from the weighty theme.

The acting in this film is not stellar but then neither is the script that leads them. Best suited for the Lifetime Channel or as an ABC Sunday night movie, Extraordinary Measures never reached big screen potential. It takes a while to grasp Fraser as a dramatic actor. But he is endearing and his mediocre acting almost makes the role better. More believable if you will. You start to see him as a dad who loves his kids. Ford brings the crusty side of Indie and Han to his role though for the most part he is just bitter and angry. This is good in short doses but I wanted a little more substance.

This is an emotional film and one that, all bad points aside, will tug on your heart with force. Anytime you get the subject of children fighting to live it is hard not to be moved on some level. This spirit of survival and Crowley’s devotion to save them is the backbone that salvages the film. The fight that Crowley made for his kids is powerful. Ford says, “I have five kids myself so I know how it feels when your kids are threatened by something and you can’t do anything about it. It is a basic human emotion that I think most people will understand.” Rated PG for thematic material, language and a mild suggestive moment it is safe for those 10 and up but maybe a little too heavy in its subject matter. I give it 3 out of 5 Barbie cars. At best, an interesting look at the medical research world and one man’s fight with it. So says Matt Mungle

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)

(3 out of 5)

Review copyright 2010 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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