Nurse Betty

"Excellent"

Nurse Betty Review


Neil LaBute, best known for his ultra-dark comedies In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors, breaks from his traditional mold and lightens up a tad with Nurse Betty, which -- again -- isn't going to win any awards for sensitivity.

For the first time, LaBute is not directing from his own script, which might explain why, if I didn't know better, I would have sworn I was watching a Coen brothers movie. Who else would put a fantasy dancing sequence on the edge of the Grand Canyon at night?

The new Neil LaBute, that's who. But lest you think you're getting a kinder, gentler Neil, rest assured that Nurse Betty is really quite gruesome in its depiction of the human soul as essentially empty. There's even a scalping thrown in for good measure.

Nurse Betty, played by Renée Zellweger, is actually a small-town Kansas waitress trapped in a loveless marriage to the local car dealer (Aaron Eckhart). Betty has one passion in life: The soap opera A Reason to Love, starring George McCord (Greg Kinnear) as famous heart surgeon Dr. David Ravell. When Betty's husband gets mixed up in a drug deal gone wrong, Betty witnesses his gruesome demise and mentally breaks down. Poof! She's convinced David Ravell is a real person, and she is his long-lost love.

If this sounds like a premise from a sitcom, that's because it is -- Brooke Shields played the Betty role against Matt LeBlanc's soap doc in a recent episode of Friends. But the similarities end there. Nurse Betty quickly becomes an epic farce, with Betty (now convinced she is a nurse) trekking to L.A. in one of her husband's Buicks... and little does she know there's a load of heroin in the trunk.

Undoubtedly the best part of the film is the team of Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock playing a father-son hit squad out to recover the drugs. Freeman plays the straight man to Rock's acerbic son who wants nothing more than to get their cross-country road trip in search of Betty over with. All the while, Freeman owns his scenes by trying to play Columbo and read Betty's mind while staring at a photograph of her. These guys are simply unstoppable when they're on the screen.

So is Miss Zellweger, after this and My, Myself & Irene, going to make a living out of playing half-deranged nuts? With Bridget Jones' Diary in the works, it certainly looks like it. Zellweger is in fine form here, even if Freeman and Rock steal the show.

Nurse Betty isn't LaBute's masterpiece, but it's definitely a solid, funny, and unique film, the likes of which you won't see again this year. If your tastes run to the truly eccentric, this should tide you over until the real Coen brothers movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, comes out later this year.

Nurse Betty's DVD release is chock full of extras, including two commentary tracks (the best one features most of the cast and LaBute), trailer and promo spots, deleted scenes (deleted for good reason, we soon see), and several much talked-about clips from A Reason to Love itself. Also of note: several hidden features with alternate scenes secreted within. Highly recommended.

Scalpel?



Nurse Betty

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th September 2000

Box Office USA: $25.0M

Distributed by: USA Films

Production compaines: USA Films, Gramercy Pictures, Intermedia

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 109 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Betty Sizemore, as Charlie, as Wesley, as Dr. David Ravell/George McCord, as Del Sizemore, as Rosa Hernandez, as Roy Ostery

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.