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Theatrical Review: EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES

Chase Whale

by: Chase Whale
January 22nd, 2010

Rating: 6/10

Writers: Robert Nelson Jacobs (screenplay), Geeta Anand (book)
Director: Tom Vaughn
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford, Keri Russell, Dee Wallace, Courtney B. Vance
Studio: CBS Films

Life. You start off an adorable chubby baby, grow into pimples, bullies, and puppy love at 13, then graduate college, get a good job, meet and marry a wonderful person, have adorable chubby babies of your own, and buy that white picket fenced house you've always wanted. Picture perfect, right? As you know, things like this normally never happen. There's one little thing that comes in the way of that: life.

This brings me to the story of EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES. In the film, Brendan Fraser stars as John Crowley, a man who has it all: a beautiful wife Aileen (played by Keri Russell), a high-paying job in corporate America, that nice house young dreamers dream about, and three wonderful children. There is a slight complication in the family matter - the youngest two, Megan and Patrick (Meredith Droeger and Diego Velazquez, respectively) suffer from a rare disease called Pompe disease. This disease has climbed to the top of the list as one of the rarest, as only an estimated 1 in every 40,000 births have it. There are two considerable problems with this being so rare: 1) A patient with Pompe disease has an expected lifespan of nine years, and 2) There is no treatment or cure (at the time setting of the film).

At the beginning of the film, Megan has just celebrated her eighth birthday, so time is rapidly running out. With time and options shrinking, John risks the Crowleys' financial future and takes "extraordinary measures" by enlisting the help of Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), an underappreciated doctor who holds a theory that could possibly save John's children's lives. I have to tell you this, Ford's Stonehill is that one grumpy-but-sweet doctor that blares CCR while working on his medical analysis. Those normal doctors (or the ones I call "no fun'') simply hate to be around him.

It's very easy to classify this film as something your mom would catch on the Lifetime Network mid-Sunday afternoon. I wouldn't disagree with you if you did. This accurate opinion doesn't make this a bad film, however. I highly enjoyed this very sweet and subtle film dealing with a father and his desperation to save his children. Over the last few years, Brendan Fraser has made many films which would keep me from ever taking him seriously. In MEASURES, he accurately triggered every emotion that a father should have when dealing with the anger, pain, and frustration of trying to save his kids.

This is a new and more interesting path for director, Tom Vaughn, whose previous film was WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS. I know, the only good thing to come out of that was Rob Corddry, who's name in the film was "Hater."

I don't want to sit here and write "the acting was brilliant, the direction was marvelous," because there's nothing brilliant or marvelous about the film. It's just an enjoyable film a moviegoer should take their mother to. And, if you're a family man, it might open your children's eyes as to how much work a parent will go to keep their children healthy.

Oh, yes, and this was all inspired by a true story.

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