A Nearly Great Film - Definitely Worth A Look
Mark J. Fowler | Okinawa, Japan | 10/14/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nurse Betty has a terrific cast who pull off a script that dances through improbable sequences and provides great poignant interludes. The movie has wry insights into the ridiculousness of Hollywood and the extremes that ordinary people will pursue to follow completely unobtainable and false goals, yet it does these things with a gentle touch rather than a heavy hammer.
Renee Zellweger is great as Betty Sizemore, a mousy housewife in Kansas whose only emotional outlet is her daily dose of the soap opera "A Reason to Love", which features saintly widowed heart surgeon, Dr. David Ravell, played by Greg Kinnear. Betty is loved by everyone down at the tip-top diner where she is a tip-top waitress, but emotionally abused and cheated on by her husband, Del, played by Aaron Eckhart. Del is a car salesman with vague dreams of bigger things, sort of like Bill Macy in "Fargo". Del is also like a Coen Brothers character in that he is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. In his big scene he tells Morgan Freeman's character how "stupid" the people are in his little Kansas town. Freeman has Del give a specific example of what he means by "stupid". Del responds with an answer showing Freeman and the audience that Del meets almost anyone's definition of "stupid".
Freeman is Charley, a freelance hit-man, and he is accompanied by Chris Rock as his apprentice, Wesley. Charley knows he is at the twilight of his career, and he considers himself a consummate professional, although he knows he is "a garbage man of the human condition." Wesley is not as professional, prone to quicker, less thoughtful action, and grudgingly accepts Charley's lessons on professionalism.
The early scene where Del tells Charley about the "stupid injuns" and other bigoted things ends with Wesley scalping Del and Charley finishing the job with his pistol, so a warning about Coen-flavored violence is appropriate.
Betty is in an adjacent room watching the videotape of that day's soap opera when Del is murdered.
The violent act snaps Betty's mind, resulting in her delusion that she had a previous life where she was soap Dr. Ravell's fiancée, following a plotline from the show five years ago. She takes a Buick from Del's lot and leaves Kansas for the first time, headed for Dr. Ravell's fictional hospital.
The joy in this film comes in the way that the other characters interact with the sweet but mentally unstable Betty. Consider the way a good-intentioned bartender in Arizona first encourages Betty when she tells her that she's trading in her no-good car dealer for a heart surgeon, then realizes that Betty earnestly believes she's headed to L.A. to hook up with a fictional character in a soap opera.
Later the magnificent Allison Janney appears as the producer of the soap opera, first amazed at Betty, who she assumes must be play-acting as an audition for the show, then ready to exploit the publicity Betty generates as a result of an incident that I'll not tell you about.
The heart of the film is the equally fictitious relationship between Morgan Freeman's Charley and the mental image he creates about Betty. Charley places Betty on a mental pedestal as a paradigm of ideal womanhood. When he learns that she has driven halfway across the country to "reunite" with a soap opera character he is incredulous. "A soap opera!? She just wouldn't do all this because of a soap opera!" he tells his apprentice.
But she would.
HappyDream | Albuquerque, NM USA | 06/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, you have to trust me on this. This is a great movie. If the fake violence upsets you (the blood isn't real, and the people are actors) you can fast-forward through the offending two minutes at the beginning and the end, and just enjoy the immensely entertaining and sometimes hysterically funny ride with Renee, Morgan, Chris and Greg. The entire cast is great. Renee is brilliant. I've watched this movie 3 times over the years and I laugh harder each time. As funny as it is, there are some scenes with Renee that are amazingly touching. Don't miss this one."
JOSEPH | Bonners Ferry, Idaho, United States | 10/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An 'interesting' offbeat movie, not the best, not the worst. One of the main reasons we bought it was the fact that at the time it was being filmed we lived near the Lancaster California area where several scenes were filmed. We had to wait on the back road while they filmed a scene then got to see Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock as we drove by and they waited for the next shot. It was interesting seeing signs put up saying "Grand Canyon" in the middle of the Southern California High Desert!"