Extraordinary Measures (2010)
Extraordinary Measures (2010)

Genre: Drama Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.

Release Date: January 22nd, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Tom Vaughan Actors: Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell, Meredith Droeger, Jared Harris

 


 

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ho knew a Harrison Ford movie could be this bad? No one was expecting much from Brendan Fraser, but “Extraordinary Measures” isn’t even as mediocre as ordinary. It’s beyond procedural, constructed in such a way that it could serve as a barebones template for film students to build their own motivational drama about illnesses. Everything happens in a predictable manner and in an expected order, completely devoid of suspense, curiosity, and entertainment. It’s executive produced by Harrison Ford (it would have presumably never been made without his support) and based on the book “The Cure” by Geeta Anand, but every universal drama tool is used shamelessly. Originality is nowhere to be found.

John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Aileen (Keri Russell) lovingly care for their three children, two of which have the horrible form of muscular dystrophy known as Pompe Disease. As daughter Megan and son Patrick approach the end of their very short life expectancies, John reaches out to top scientific researcher Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) for a solution. The prickly doctor is on the brink of a breakthrough that can keep the children alive, but the cost of facilities and experimentations are incredibly high. It’s up to John to reason with venture capitalists, competing drug companies, and ruthless businessmen to fund Stonehill’s research and to find a cure that can be administered before time runs out.

The evils of the multibillion-dollar drug companies aren’t a new movie topic, and the idea that curing diseases has to be lucrative isn’t a recently uncovered horror. In the end, it’s all about profit – the science doesn’t matter and a medicament must stand aside for acceptable levels of human life loss and marketability. When John hits Stonehill with a cold concreteness by mentioning that he’ll cure diseases in theory while failing to help a single person in reality, it sums up the struggles of the best scientists in the business. This one specific, successful example turned into a movie – perhaps it would have been more interesting to discover how many others failed.

Harrison Ford is enjoyable in just about everything, but somehow he plays an unlikeable character in this film. It could have something to do with the stereotypical role, the formulaic plot, the cliché lines of dialogue, and the yawn-inducing method of storytelling. Close-ups on teary eyes, the kids chattering comical lines, John succumbing to the stresses of caring for his children, and the wife playing her drab supportive position begs the question: How much emotion can be choked out of a sick kid melodrama? With the title “Extraordinary Measures” and with Ford as a star, director Tom Vaughan could have sculpted a decent action adventure film… 20 years ago. It’s hard to believe anyone could instead have made such a boring, generic dud.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10