Given its generic title and based-on-true-life plot about a dad who tries to save the lives of his sick children, “Extraordinary Measures” sounds a lot like a TV movie. In a sense, it is. The film, which opens tomorrow and stars Brendan Fraser as the crusading dad and Harrison Ford as a curmudgeonly scientist developing a cure for the rare Pompe disease, was produced by CBS Films, a new production company created by the television network.
Extraordinary Measures is a smart film that doesn’t go for the easy tears or the over dramatic violins. It presents you with an unfortunate situation and tells you a story about a family who fights tooth and nail to make the impossible a reality…read more [ScreenCrave]
Extraordinary Measures offers a bromantic twist as Harrison Ford’s scientific researcher and Brendan Fraser’s desperate father join forces to create a cure for Pompe, a deadly childhood disease. Ford plays a scientist and Fraser a biotech entrepreneur united in their fight against the ticking clock.
The men couldn’t be more different – Dr. Bob Stonehill is a brilliant but miserable medical researcher with few social skills and an ugly temper, and John Crowley is a mild-mannered executive driven by love into action. He believes so strongly in taking action that he manages to push his naturally reserved personality up several notches to raise research funds…read more [M&C]
The medical drama “Extraordinary Measures” has been marketed as another “Blind Side,” a true story about quiet heroism, doing the right thing and overcoming great odds. There’s much pulling of the bootstraps and milking of the tear ducts on the way to an ending that only an old grump (yes, we’re looking at you, Harrison Ford) couldn’t love….read more [MySanAntonio]
Movies like this love to trade on their good intentions and make it seem like it’s your problem when you feel trapped in your theater seat, fidgeting and pretending not to be checking your email, praying for the end credits to roll. Obviously, you’re a “heartless machine” (Fraser throws that one at one of the film’s bottom-line money-men) who can’t wait to watch adorable children die. But it’s really the movie’s fault for not giving you anything to look at but people in lab coats arguing with guys in suits about protocols and clinical trials and health care industry shoptalk. I’m sure in reality this whole thing was pretty dramatic and felt as life-and-death important as it clearly was, but at least twice I caught myself thinking, “Avatar is playing right next door…”…read more [Movies.com]
“Extraordinary Measures” also would have been helped by less corporate intrigue and more character. You feel it especially keenly with Ford, who does a credible job as an eccentric and ornery scientist, but there’s not enough meat on the bones for him to really dig in. Meanwhile, Fraser attacks his role like a linebacker, barreling through scenes in a breathless effort to keep up…read more [Los Angeles Times]
From its marketing, “Extraordinary Measures” looks like an inspirational “disease of the week” movie, complete with self-righteous speeches (“Nobody’s gonna tell me how to run my lab!” “I’m a scientist!”) and hugs at the end. Based on a true story (Crowley really did start a multimillion-dollar company to save his children; Stonehill is a composite of the doctors who helped him), the film can’t help but grip the heart and imagination, especially when the camera is trained on the two adorable, plucky children whose life-and-death struggles propel the plot…read more [The Washington Post]
Admitted, much of this was decided before director Tom Vaughan (who last made the execrable “What Happens in Vegas”) came on board, but he doesn’t seem too interested in mixing things up. The film proceeds slowly, safely and rather boringly — right down to the overdone score by Andrea Guerra, which oozes over every scene like syrup.
Yes, the actors are pleasant enough, and the film gets some of the tears it’s looking for — who isn’t going to feel a twinge seeing worried parents and sick kids on screen? The Pacific Northwest locations are pretty (although why did the family’s Jersey base have to be rewritten?) and Jared Harris adds a little spark as what passes for the villain of the piece…read more [nj.com]
But even with Ford, Extraordinary Measures reads like little more than a dramatized timeline. It’s easy enough to get caught up in Crowley’s race against the clock, but the presentation leans heavily on emotional manipulation and a tear-wringing score. Fraser has little to do but look angsty and determined; Keri Russell, as his wife, is an afterthought. Ford is an entertainingly irascible scene-thief, but knowing he’s just there to spice things up throws seeds of doubt into every moment of the film, undermining and distracting from Crowley’s real-life struggles. Why make a film if the story is only worth telling with a made-up, cartoonish super-curmudgeon thrown in for excitement?…read more [A.V.Club]
Extraordinary Measures Trailer: