You know how it goes: you're just a homely waitress in Kansas who's addicted to the soap opera "A Reason to Love." After watching your sleazeball husband get scalped by a pair of thugs (a spectacularly disgusting scene), you go nuts and decide to drive to California to find your favorite soap opera star, having convinced yourself that the character he plays on TV is a real person... Okay, we have major credibility problems here, obviously; but it IS a comedy, albeit an only partly successful one.Perky-looking Renee Zellweger plays the titular Nurse Betty, whose quest to find soap idol (yeah, right) Greg Kinnear forms the thrust of the plot. As the airheaded heroine she is likable enough (but it's only fair to note that I even liked her in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4"; make of that what you will). She's being pursued by hitmen Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock, who take advantage of a couple of contrived plot twists as they chase her across the country. Rock has his fair share of funny bits, but his shrill one-note performance (i.e. lots of "Say, What?!" reactions) becomes monotonous after awhile; Freeman's quiet dignity does a lot to compensate for this.
Most of the movie switches back and forth, in mechanical fashion, between the two hitmen and Zellweger's misadventures in Hollywood. It's not hard to figure out what director LaBute is up to here. The exploration of Reality vs. Fantasy is not new in cinema, and LaBute finally blows it in the last act by answering that question with an absolutely banal "just be yourself" message. But there are some wickedly funny moments before that happens, and the movie is not dull for a second.It's finally a mixed bag--part delicious black comedy, part neatly wrapped Hollywood product. Despite some memorable moments, it seems like a missed opportunity.