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Critical Care Movie Review

ernst cute rich james

Heck, even half the cast of Critical Care would drag me into a theatre. But the half-baked script by Steven S. Schwartz is crammed with meet cute/evolve cute/resolve cute situations, and in one unbearable sequence, a dry-eyed James Spader as Dr. Werner Ernst actually quivers his lip in the lackluster tradition of Douglass Montgomery. Who? My point, exactly. Let me outta here! The nadir of this excruciating hospital drama occurs in the consultations between Dr. Ernst and Dr. Butz. Why? Because Dr. Butz is Albert Brooks, wearing “old guy” makeup, best suited for a boardwalk fun house. And we're supposed to be moved by the rest of this movie? The Ethical Quandary here is whether or not Dr. Ernst should keep a rich old man alive to the tune of $112,800 monthly when he's in a “persistent vegetative state.” One rich daughter says NO! One rich daughter says YES! Werner Ernst, who presumably passed an I.Q. test before he entered medical school, sleeps with one sister, is recorded on videotape (It Seems to Me I've Heard This Song Before), and faces Real Trouble, in addition to the aforementioned Ethical Quandary. Even if you must kill 105 minutes, you can do better than this absolutely ghastly entry which premiered at the Chicago Film Festival. woof!

1997 (R) 105m/C James Spader, Albert Brooks, Kyra Sedgwick, Helen Mirren, Margo Martindale, Jeffrey Wright, Wallace Shawn, Anne Bancroft, Philip Bosco, Edward Herrmann, Colm Feore, James Lally, Al Waxman, Harvey Atkin; D: Sidney Lumet; W: Steven S. Schwartz; C: David Watkin; M: Michael Convertino. VHS, LV, DVD

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