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Overall Rating
3.53

Awesome: 17.61%
Worth A Look45.77%
Average: 21.13%
Pretty Bad: 2.82%
Total Crap: 12.68%

13 reviews, 64 user ratings



Nurse Betty
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by EricDSnider

"Screwball LaBute isn't as good as misanthrop LaBute, but he's still good."
4 stars

Neil LaBute's screwy comedy "Nurse Betty" is a daffy trip through the comical world of post-traumatic stress disorder and unhealthy obsessions, with some surprising depth to it. It's also very funny, though not nearly as much or as often as you'd hope.

Betty Sizemore (Renee Zellweger), a Kansas diner waitress, is hooked on the soap opera "A Reason to Love," mainly because it helps her escape her loveless marriage with Mullett-haired used-car salesman Del (Aaron Eckhart). She's so caught up in this soap opera, in fact, that when she sees Del get killed by a couple of thugs he double-crossed (Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock, making a surprisingly good comedy team, considering the dignity of the former and the crassness of the latter), she wigs out and heads out to L.A. to meet Dr. David Ravell (Greg Kinnear) -- not the actor who plays him, but the actual character, whom she now believes to be real and to whom she thinks she was once engaged.

She finds him -- well, George McCord, the actor -- at a party and soon he and his soap opera industry friends think she's a really dedicated actress who's trying to get a role on the show, and that all this talk about their "history" together is improv.

This is when the film is at its funniest, when Betty is delusional and everyone else thinks she's just a swell actress. The film begins to weaken when she's brought back to reality. It's LaBute's style to be harsh and dreadful ("In the Company of Men" exemplifies that) while still being at least darkly funny, but the scenes of Betty's awakening aren't funny. They're even mildly disturbing, in a way, as Zellweger has made the sweetly delusional gal so sympathetic, one almost wishes she COULD be "Nurse Betty," Dr. David's former fiancee.

While all this is going on, the philosophizing old-timer Charlie (Freeman) and his impetuous apprentice thug Wesley (Rock) are trying to track Betty down, as the car she drove off in has something valuable of theirs in its trunk.

Where LaBute and screenwriter John C. Richards score is in the dovetailing of the plots. As Betty pursues a TV character who doesn't exist, Charlie start pursuing a sophisticated, graceful Betty that he has created in his mind based on what he's learned from talking to her friends and family. That both Betty's and Charlie's dreams turn out to be less than accurate is achingly poignant, elevating the film above mere screwball wackiness (this is a movie where things happen just as conveniently as you please, but you don't mind), up to something just a little more insightful.

Freeman is great as always as the hired bad guy, rhapsodizing over Betty and dreamily staring out over the Grand Canyon while his young partner complains every step of the way. Rock really starts to come into his own here; not just any actor could play opposite Morgan Freeman and get away with it.

Kinnear is perfectly cast as the smarmy soap actor. Fortunately, he doesn't have to do much more than be Dr. David Ravell, a fatuous part for which he is well-suited.

The film warms up very slowly, however, almost infuriatingly so. And there are undeniably some slow points throughout it. But its originality and sheer wacked-out likability compensate for its weaknesses in pacing.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3915&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/05/03 16:41:38
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell snide portrait of mental illness 1 stars
5/23/08 PAUL SHORTT A WIERDLY UNEVEN, REPUGNANT, SOUR, DISSATISFYING EXPERIENCE 1 stars
3/17/08 Pamela White Renee makes the movie 4 stars
2/10/07 Frank Rountree Entertaining, goofy movie, not bad 3 stars
7/18/06 David Cohen Mental illness, ain't it a hoot? 1 stars
12/16/05 R.W.Welch Has a delightfully flaky streak to it. Zellweger nails it here. 4 stars
10/11/05 Carolyn Rathburn Good film, didn't like the scalping part though 4 stars
8/09/05 C. Fidance I really liked it a lot. Thought it was fun to see Morgan in this kind of a role. 5 stars
8/07/05 Charlene Javier Renee before she sold-out. 4 stars
8/05/05 Nate Frary It was nice to see LaButte branch out a little. 4 stars
8/04/05 Carolyn Rathburn love Renee and Morgan, kind-of strange movie 4 stars
8/03/05 Eric Rollins Fine actors wasted on a mediocre story. 2 stars
2/02/04 Rocko gave me a head ache 1 stars
12/01/03 Mote Falange Incredibly original 5 stars
11/29/03 Samuel Chris Rock and Morgan Freeman save the film... 4 stars
7/06/03 Jack Sommersby Another meandering stink bomb from the talentless Neil LaBute. 1 stars
6/20/03 George Jung Amazing movie. 5 stars
4/30/03 R.W. Welch Works well in the early going but hits some false notes later on. Original though. 4 stars
11/20/02 Caiphn Not bad at all. 3 stars
8/24/02 Vito Pixie Even when Morgan Freeman shouts expletives, he's an incredible class act. Great performance 5 stars
8/06/02 Tulsa Slut Fractured bits of this&that add up to mildly amusing. 3 stars
6/04/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi very very very good 5 stars
5/20/02 siro The on-screen chemistry between Freeman and Rock is wonderful.... 5 stars
4/08/02 hum not what i expected. unusual and very good 4 stars
3/01/02 Chowie Very very very good 5 stars
1/06/02 Andrew Carden Reene Is Hard To Not Like...Such A Distinguished and Loveable Actress. 4 stars
12/04/01 Bada Bing Crosby Fantastic, memorable, unique and boy am I glad I liked it so much, it feels great 5 stars
10/22/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) One of the bloodiest, nastiest, freakiest flicks I've ever seen. 3 stars
9/05/01 luana very good 5 stars
8/16/01 Belinda Very over rated. Not the slightest bit funny. 1 stars
7/24/01 Bud A no brainer romp. A fun night out. Rene is just right. 3 stars
7/08/01 Don't waste your money on this one Even looking past all of the insults against midwesterners, I would still say it sucked. 1 stars
6/26/01 Hugo Felix - Southern California Great adventure. Good comic relief but induced reflection. 5 stars
6/17/01 artpaws Great concept; execution is TERRIBLE: pacing drawn out and lifeless 2 stars
5/01/01 Monday Morning The first violent chick flick I've encountered. Original story...should see just for that. 4 stars
4/09/01 PatrickG. Below average film, few laughs, overall boring! Stupid story! 2 stars
4/03/01 perverted pixie "I'm the law. I don't gotta do nothing." Sheer class. 5 stars
3/19/01 Shawn Chris Rock's talent was under-utilized. 3 stars
3/19/01 arcoiris original; slyly hilarious 4 stars
3/15/01 k.j.tomko Average. 3 stars
2/21/01 Rich Did not get enough attention; Renee rules 4 stars
1/12/01 Matt69 The scalping scene fucking rocked. 3 stars
11/26/00 Cristopher Revilla interesing, you won't love it or hate it, you'll be neutral 4 stars
11/04/00 Rob Nothing like "Fargo". Walked out. Unbelievable, unfunny, actors sucked (except mulletboy) 1 stars
10/28/00 toe.3 WHY??? Who gave this guy the money for this?! 1 stars
10/17/00 master.node Distracting while you watch, but there's ultimately no depth to the movie. 3 stars
10/12/00 Mr. X It doesn't know what sort of movie it wants to be. 3 stars
10/05/00 Bonnie This is one of the most original films I've seen this whole year. 4 stars
9/26/00 YelloMiata@AOL.COM Close your eyes for five seconds, enjoy the rest of the movie. 4 stars
9/25/00 malcolm MsAsh, above, is a dumb ass. 4 stars
9/18/00 Suzz has an "American Beauty" quality about it in the juxtapositioning of extreme violence with 4 stars
9/17/00 McAss Harrison Ford is the killer! 4 stars
9/17/00 KAM What's w/all the hype? This movie is not that good 3 stars
9/16/00 john smith i loved it ...Fargoish and then some ... just loved it 5 stars
9/15/00 mary collins would have been comical if annoying nurse had been viciously killed 1 stars
9/15/00 Jeppe Very good - feelgood, excellent casting, nice twisty plot. 4 stars
9/13/00 PJ Freeman is perfect, the direction is great, and the comedy works big time, really funny. 4 stars
9/13/00 Jokko You guys are holding the marketing against it. That's too bad. Freeman rocks. Great script. 4 stars
9/13/00 Movie Freek sorry. best film of the year as far as i'm concerned :) 5 stars
9/11/00 tnt a very forgetable film 2 stars
9/10/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble There should be a nurse in all theaters to revive all comatose movie goers during this film 1 stars
9/10/00 chuck Where was the comedy? 1 stars
9/10/00 Austin its alright, this movie takes too long to get funny. 3 stars
9/10/00 jonnyA hee hee , 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Sep-2000 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  23-Aug-2001 (M)




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