Review: Extraordinary Measures

* * out of four

Brendan Fraser (“The Mummy,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth”) and Harrison Ford (“Indiana Jones,” “Star Wars”) take a rest from their usual gunfighting adventure types and settle in for this drama that looks like a TV movie, smells like a TV movie and is made by CBS.

Fraser plays the intelligent yuppie father of three children, two of which suffer from the crippling Pompe disease, a boy and a girl. The girl just turned eight, the boy is six. Estimated lifespan for a person born with Pompe (a genetic disease, we learn) is nine years. The father, John Crowley, looks up Pompe expert researcher Dr. Robert Stonehill (Ford). Stonehill is hard to get ahold of, and once Crowley finds him he proves to be an interesting fellow.

Crowley impresses Stonehill after holding a fundraiser for Stonehill’s research and generating far less cash than Stonehill needs, but more than he expected. Stonehill gets Crowley on board and the two set out to cure Pompe. Soon, they will have shared success, failure, the standard falling out, and then a reconciliation. None of these happen naturally. Everything feels forced.

Fraser is occasionally good as Crowley. He’s at his best in his scenes with his kids. Here he is more free to be himself, and we get a more realistic feel from him. Harrison Ford, on the other hand, is a different matter. Ford portrays Stonehill like a subdued caricature, if that’s possible. He hardly shows any emotions except for when they are most required and for the rest of the time looks bored and tired. His interpretation is cranky, rude, but honest. Yeah, we’ve seen this character before, and we know how it’s going to work out.

Tom Vaughan directed this movie. You may have already forgotten his earlier film “What Happens in Vegas.” You’ll forget this one too. It’s like a Lifetime Movie of the Week remake of “Lorenzo’s Oil,” only without the Oscar-worthy performances and genuine emotions. Or maybe “My Sister’s Keeper” without the interesting premise or logical outcome.

I have to also mention the film’s soundtrack. It’s terrible. Big numbers play off our emotions begging for tears… in every single scene. There are a lot of easy answers. “Dad, you’re not spending time with me any more.” “OK, I’ll spend time with you.” Cue music. “Stonehill I need your help!” “Get out of my lab, Crowley! I never want to see you again!” Cue music, dissolve to next scene with Crowley crying in a corner (probably from the emotional music). “Crowley.” “Yes Stonehill?” “I didn’t mean it, I’m sorry.” “So you’ll help?” “Yes.” Cue music again. Get the idea? The music is composed by Andrea Guerra, a man named Andrea.

I’m not saying “Extraordinary Measures” is terrible. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m saying it’s not good.

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One Response to “Review: Extraordinary Measures”

  1. Harrison is incredbily talented. I don’t think I’ve ever not liked one of his movies.

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