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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.95%
Worth A Look: 24.59%
Average: 21.31%
Pretty Bad: 4.92%
Total Crap26.23%

4 reviews, 37 user ratings

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John Q
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by EricDSnider

"One man against an HMO! Ooh, the evil bureaucrats! Ooh, the paperwork!"
3 stars

"John Q" is the latest re-tread of "Dog Day Afternoon," but this time it's a heavy-handed tract from the anti-HMO missionaries. It provides more unintentional laughs than anything else.

Denzel Washington IS John Q. Archibald, a hard-working but down-on-his-luck Chicago man with a wife, Denise (Kimberly Elise), and little boy, Mike (Daniel E. Smith). Then Mike comes up needing a heart transplant to survive, and John's insurance won't cover the operation, and the hospital needs a cash down payment.

With no alternatives left, John barges into the emergency room with a gun, demanding that his son be given the transplant. Dr. Turner (James Woods) the cardiologist and several innocent bystanders are taken as hostages while the police, headed by Frank Grimes (Robert Duvall), try to keep John from doing anything crazy (well, crazier).

Director Nick Cassavetes makes everything big, big, big. Every emotion is overblown, and every conversation is tense. When someone hangs up the phone, there is a huge crashing chord on the soundtrack. If everything that happens weren't so unbelievable, you'd think it was the most important film ever made.

Aside from the melodrama, the film shoots itself in the foot time after time. Eddie Griffin plays a Stereotypical Black Guy stuck in the emegency room with everyone else, and anytime something remotely serious happens, he makes a stupid comment, thus ruining any chance the film had of earning our emotions.

There's a curiously ham-fisted attempt at media satire, too, with a bloodthirsty TV news reporter (Paul Johansson) who will stop at nothing to get the story, not even allowing the laws of Illinois or physics to get in his way. It's very obviously out of place in the film.

And need we mention that Robert Duvall's Stereotypical Gruff Cop is named Frank Grimes -- the same name as Homer's office rival in a classic episode of "The Simpsons"? Or that Larry King and Jay Leno -- the two biggest whores in TV (nearly 30 movies credits among them in the past 10 years) -- have cameos here, too?

Denzel Washington, Kimberly Elise and Daniel E. Smith are all very good in their roles as the Archibald family. They have a natural chemistry together, and a scene in which Washington must bid his son farewell is surprisingly tender, given the ineptitude of the surrounding scenes. It's just a reminder that Washington is a great actor, and he can rise above most mediocrity.

This is sappy, unrealistic stuff with hardly a true moment anywhere in it. It preaches and practically begs you to agree with it. If a man fighting an HMO doesn't sound like a very interesting movie, well, you're right.

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originally posted: 02/15/02 10:49:42
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User Comments

1/23/16 mardphbco USA 2 stars
7/18/15 John jacobs Terrific Movie, what every parent would want to do 5 stars
7/18/15 John jacobs Terrific Movie, what every parent would want to do 5 stars
7/18/15 John jacobs Terrific Movie, what every parent would want to do 5 stars
3/27/11 Moica Completely ridculous melodramatic urealistic piece of garbage 1 stars
2/26/09 MARGELINE ADALLA gosh i really appreciated this film. its very touching, making us aware of health care sys 5 stars
8/13/08 Shaun Wallner Loved it Denzel Washington is great! 5 stars
3/30/08 Ana Beatriz I loved this movie!, TG that i didn't read this bad revews before, cause I could miss it! 5 stars
2/18/08 Pamela White unfortunately dealing with ins. companies are just this frustrating. 5 stars
1/02/08 Juris John Q is such a superb! great film! 5 stars
3/05/07 --- Too many unrealistic scenes and melodrama/overacting 2 stars
2/23/07 David Pollastrini liberal trash 3 stars
7/03/06 Indrid Cold Denzel is great as always, but the movie is schmaltzy, hyper-pc propaganda. 3 stars
1/03/06 cody a moving movie with soild and nice perf. by densel,good family film 4 stars
12/14/05 deadfishrman this movie wasnt bad 4 stars
11/21/05 steve newman Pleasently surprised - thought it was going to be awful 3 stars
8/25/05 ES This one and that other denzel movie are the ones I keep forgetting about 3 stars
7/27/05 Christopher Health care in the U.S. sure does suck. My insurance refused to cover my eye surgery. 5 stars
2/21/05 Captain Craig Gripping drama. Denzzel at his best 5 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams Fucking HMO bastard pieces of shit 5 stars
3/20/04 Jack-pyschO-Lantern Dog Day Afternoon, Swordfish & Phone BOOTH were better..................................... 4 stars
5/15/03 Tom Fleeman This was a beautiful movie. I loved it!! Denzel was brilliant! 5 stars
2/24/03 Clay Hiss the movie was a good one, people with HMO are screwed when it comes to operations like this 4 stars
1/03/03 . Just like real life for many ppl... Nice movie! 4 stars
8/26/02 Mike b Would have been a great movie if they didn't try to push their fucking agenda. 3 stars
8/10/02 Monday Morning Denzel Rules, John Q Drools. 4 stars
6/12/02 Robyn Jamil-Walid "Axe murderer" has a point but scarcely uses a name with emotional health written all over! 3 stars
5/26/02 G2 Wasn't too bad 4 stars
4/26/02 Film Guy Messy little movie 2 stars
3/28/02 Axe Murderer Gary vidmar has realy realy bad emotional problems 4 stars
3/16/02 Danielle Evans Really good movie for loud black folks!!!!!! 5 stars
2/28/02 mike d GREAT MOVIE !! REAL LIFE FOR 50 MILLION PEOPLE 5 stars
2/24/02 Boyd Petrie Heads up! Candidate for Donor List: in need of good script, acting, direction, and music! 1 stars
2/19/02 FrayLo It may have cliches, corny moments, but it is a damn good movie. 4 stars
2/16/02 Goldhammer 100% commie propaganda. Wanna donate to the Dems? Pay for a ticket. 1 stars
2/15/02 malcolm hokey as hell. w/o incredible-as-always Denzel, this film gets a 2 3 stars
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  15-Feb-2002 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Nick Cassavetes

Written by
  James Kearns

  Denzel Washington
  Robert Duvall
  Anne Heche
  Ray Liotta
  James Woods
  Kimberly Elise

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