Movie Review: Another "Based on a True Story"

Extraordinary Measures

In this new drama from director Tom Vaughan (What Happens in Vegas), Brendan Fraser plays John, a biotechnology executive, whose two youngest children are afflicted with Pompe disease -- a neuromuscular disorder. As the kids grow sicker, and the necessary treatment lags behind due to red tape, John takes it upon himself to track down and hire a gruff scientist, Dr. Stonehill (Harrison Ford), whose research shows promise. If Tom can find the funding, Stonehill is the best -- and maybe last chance to save his kids (played by Diego Velazquez and scene-stealer Meredith Droeger).

The feature is the first release from CBS Films -- so it's no surprise that it feels more like a tv movie than a theatrical one. And if Ford didn't star and serve as an executive producer, it very well may have landed on tv instead. Although it's slightly better than last year's similarly mis-released sick kid drama, My Sister's Keeper, that isn't saying much. Fraser seems better suited for adventure and comedy films than melodrama. Ford appears to almost phone in his performance -- and Keri Russell's role as Tom's wife mostly serves as window dressing. But there's still some inspiration in the film's message -- if you can just get pass the bad acting and movie-of-the-week storytelling. So my advice is to wait for the DVD release -- and see it on the better-suited small screen. [Rated PG; opens tomorrow]

Grade: B-


  • My screening of the film brought together Fraser and the man he portrays, John Crowley (at right in photo), who now heads the biotech company Amicus Therapeutics. Although he admitted at the screening that the movie was a dramatization -- and Ford's character was actually a composite of several individuals -- Crowley pointed out that "all the science and medicine is 100 percent accurate." Look for a small cameo by Crowley in a business meeting scene. Also in attendance at the screening was Crowley's wife, Aileen. (Credit: Michael Klein, Steven Falk ~ The Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • An alphabetical archive of other film reviews can be found by clicking on the icon in the left menu.

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